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Walter James Wilson

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Walt Wilson passed away August 1, 2013, on his 97th birthday. He was a man of integrity and honor, had a great sense of humor, and was liked by all who knew him. Walt was born in New York City in 1916, growing up on the Penoyer estate on Long Island where his immigrant parents were employed.

 

He attended Friends Academy through high school. He earned a bachelors degree in military science from the University of Maryland, and a masters of business administration from George Washington University.

 

In 1941 he entered military service. In World War II Walt flew B-26 Marauders, first as squadron commander and then as group bombardier of the 323rd Bomb Group. Later he joined the 98th Combat Wing and flew additional missions in A-20 and A-26 aircraft. He flew 52 combat missions over Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit, American Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and National Defense Service Medal, among others. The government of France awarded him the Croix de Guerre with a Vermillion Star and the Commander of the Order of Ouissam Alacuite Cherifien.


In July of 1947 he married Muriel Woodbridge in Paris, and after they returned to the United States, they had three children, Leslie, Wendy, and Woody. After the war, Walt was stationed at the Pentagon. In the mid-1950s he served as a Base Commander in Korea, and was later Chief of Protocol for the Fifth Air Force in Tokyo, Japan. He retired from the military in 1969 after 28 years of service as Base Commander of Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif.


Walt had a second career as vice-president of California Vision Services, a vision insurance provider. Walt and Muriel loved to travel and visited many countries, including Israel, Egypt, China, Russia, and Tunisia and they especially enjoyed visiting Walt's cousins in England.


Walt and Muriel moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1990, and became members of the First United Methodist Church. Walt served as a volunteer officer with the Ashland Police Department into his 80s. Walt and Muriel were married 52 years when Muriel passed away in 1999.


After Muriel's death, Walt moved to Mountain View Retirement Residence. In 2000, he met Lois Gunsolus, and they married a few months later. Walt and Lois took great pleasure in each other's company during their 12 years of marriage.


Walt's son, Woody, passed away in 2002. Walt is survived by his second wife, Lois; his daughters, Leslie Burnham (Wayne) and Wendy Wilson-Hoss (Rob); his sister-in-law, Lorraine Munroe; Lois' children, Skye Gunsolus Sugar (David) and Roy Gunsolus (Barbara);five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren who loved him very much.


A memorial will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, August 17, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church of Ashland. The family suggests that donations would be appreciated at Hospice and Home Health of Ashland or First United Methodist Church of Ashland.


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