Sandlapper Society

Robert Pearce Wilkins, Editor Emeritus


January 21, 2013— A note from the Executive Director of Sandlapper... “This past weekend we lost our founder, Bob Wilkins. Sandlapper owes its very existence to Bob and the Wilkins family. It was a dream he made into a reality and we are forever grateful for his vision and dedication to our state. He saw beauty in everyday South Carolina life and shared it in his own unique way. Godspeed, dear friend!”

In the beginning…there was Bob. And there was only one. Bob Wilkins, visionary and dreamer, lawyer and author, entrepreneur and professor. Eternal optimist. Idea Man. Sailor. School board chairman. Founder of a flea market and a school for lawyers learning how to incorporate computers into their offices. Maybe most of all, a lover of South Carolina.

It was that love that propelled him to create a magazine that would declare to the world that the Palmetto State is beautiful and interesting, and that the people who live here are intelligent and kind. With his wife Rose as circulation manager and his friend Del Roberts as associate editor, he launched a magazine that would become not only his legacy, but a gift to the state. Sandlapper, The Magazine of South Carolina, began publishing in 1968. Who can say how many people have been entertained by its articles or struck by its photography? How could we count how many researchers have turned to its pages while investigating some project?

Those who know Bob know he doesn't shy away from taking an unpopular stand. He was Republican before most of South Carolina, and he was drinking beer when everyone else was sipping bourbon. But Sandlapper isn't a stump for opinions and controversy, he believes; it's a stage upon which the best of South Carolina can be presented. And he is adamant about that.

People outside South Carolina may not know Bob Wilkins has a national reputation as a lawyer, and frequently addressed legal groups across the country and abroad. His landmark legal text, Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements, helped make him a national authority as an estate planner. And he's esteemed for his skills at the podium. "I'm a great public speaker, but I can't write," is his frequent admission.

Of course, that didn't stop him. 50 Things To Do with the Rest of Your Life is his paperback warning for readers not to accept a humdrum life. People should plan lives that are personally meaningful. He has, taking Rose and their children (Robby, Wally, Sarah, Anne) camping in many of the 50 states – he's been to them all – and participating in competitive sailing.   

One of Bob's many Caribbean sailing trips.

At home in Lexington with five
of his eight grandchildren.

"Renaissance Man" is a common description for Bob Wilkins, but that expression doesn't capture him when he's swinging Rose across the floor, reading to his grandchildren, or watching the purple martins on Lake Murray.  There's nobody else like Bob Wilkins.