Joseph Russell Wilkins II

November 20, 1935 ~ January 6, 2022 (age 86)


J.R. “Rusty” Wilkins II passed away at home on January 6th 2022, surrounded by his family at the age of 86. He was born in Ogden, Utah on November 20,1935 to Russell “Russ” Wilkins and Lillian Weisner. The family moved to Broomfield, Colorado in 1939. Rusty attended grade school in Denver before moving thirty miles north of Wells, NV in the mid 40’s to the Winecup Ranch. Rusty grew up working cattle, hunting, and riding his horses throughout the ranch.  He graduated from Wells High School in 1953.

Rusty went on to attend Colorado State University where he met the love of his life, Mary Edith “Maradith” Ensor. They were married in Denver, Colorado on May 25, 1957. Afterwards they moved to Scottsdale, Arizona and finished school at Arizona State University, graduating in 1959. Rusty was a member of the Air National Guard throughout college and in the years following. After a year in Kansas running sheep and cattle, the couple moved back to Colorado where they welcomed their daughter Wendy Tianne (Wilkins) Cogdal in 1960 and their son, Joseph “Joe” Russell Wilkins III in 1963.

Rusty was an extremely accomplished sod farmer. He and his father-in-law, K.C. Ensor, a home builder and developer, began Green Valley Turf Company in 1962 as a source of sod for the new homes that they were building. Over his 50-year career, he grew the farm from the original 5 acres to over 800 acres with farms in Littleton, Platteville and Ft. Lupton, Colorado.  He was a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Sod Growers and held numerous positions there. As an active member in the early days of the American Sod Producers Association, Rusty hosted the ASPA convention in Platteville, Colorado, in 1982. The convention featured international attendees and the first ever sod rodeo. He was on the GreenCo legislative committee and on the board of the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association for five years. Rusty was a treasured and invaluable member of the sod growers and landscape community during his life.

Rusty and his wife loved to travel, both internationally and domestically. From their honeymoon where they drove across the Mexican desert in a convertible, to adventures in Africa, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Europe, Jamacia, the Panama Canal, Russia and across the United States in their Airstream trailer in his later years. He loved his dogs and his horses as well as hunting and snowmobiling. Rusty loved attending Central City Opera with his wife, Maradith and through the years he attended many Opera Colorado productions and events with Maradith. Rusty loved to spend time with his family, especially his four grandchildren, he loved to tell stories.

Rusty is survived by his wife of 64 years, Maradith Wilkins, his children Wendy Tianne (Wilkins) Cogdal and Joseph Russell Wilkins III (Nancy Whitenight Wilkins), grandchildren Dillon Richard Cogdal, Lillian Sarah Cogdal, Emery Adeline Wilkins and Joseph Russell Wilkins IV, and his brother Anthony Arthur Wilkins.

There will be a visitation Wednesday January 26th, 4pm to 7pm at Drinkwine Family Mortuary in Littleton, CO. Graveside service will be held Thursday January 27th, 11am at Crown Hill Cemetery, Lakewood, CO. 


Donations can be made to:

The Lawn Institute

Or to Opera Colorado










To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Russell Wilkins II, please visit our floral store.


Viewing & Visitation
January 26, 2022

4:00 PM
Drinkwine Family Mortuary
999 West Littleton Boulevard
Littleton, CO 80120
Guaranteed delivery before the Viewing & Visitation begins

Graveside Service
January 27, 2022

11:00 AM
Crown Hill Cemetery
7777 W. 29th Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Guaranteed delivery before the Graveside Service begins

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