Wilkinson joined ENR in the 1950s and was managing editor from 1969 to 1976.
"Joe was the first ENR staffer to be a Vietnam war correspondent," says ENR Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Arthur J. Fox. "At his own initiative, he also was the first and only ENR editor to visit Antarctica and report on activities there."
Adds Fox, "Joe's writing was 'splendid,' a favorite word of his. It was brilliant in its simplicity and defied editing."
Wilkinson later was editor-in-chief of Coal Age, another McGraw-Hill publication, which won a national magazine award in 1980 for reporting on the sexual harassment of women coal miners. He also freelance wrote for ENR and others after his retirement.