Arthur C. Wilkins (Amherst College '72) died Feb. 9 2015 at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. He was born in Richmond, Va., to Samuel A. Wilkins Jr., of White Plains, N.Y., who recently passed away, and Dr. Shirley (Wilkins) DeShields of Amherst.
Arthur attended secondary school in Virginia. He moved with his mother and brother to Washington, D.C., and later Silver Spring, Md. Arthur graduated from McKinley Technical High School in D.C. He graduated from Amherst with a B.A. in theater.
After graduation, Arthur spent 25 years in Paris and developed quite a résumé. He received a fellowship to the Maximilien Decroux School of Mime, where he was taught by the wife of the world-acclaimed Marcel Marceau. Arthur pursued a successful dance career and became a teacher of jazz, tap and ballet. He danced with the world-renowned singer and dancer Josephine Baker. Arthur was also a member of the musical group Sheila B. Devotion. Sheila—a popular French pop singer—and three male dancers made several disco albums and enjoyed international success. Arthur was also featured in an edition of Paris’ Vogue magazine. All the while, he photographed and traveled extensively throughout France and Europe with visits to Asia and Africa.
Arthur’s earlier enjoyments were flying, skiing, skating and horseback riding. As time passed, photography, computer graphics, board games, reading and teaching French became his special interest and routine.
Arthur touched the lives of many with his joie de vivre. He leaves behind many loved ones, including his mother, Shirley DeShields; his brother, Michael; his sister, Kim DeShields; and two stepsisters, Velma Anderson and Stephanie Stewart. A memorial service was held in April.