Friends and family will gather this weekend to celebrate the life of Bob Wilson, a longtime director of the Ashland library and former Talent City Council member.
The celebration will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Talent Community Center, 206 E. Main St., Talent.
Robert "Bob" Russell Wilson was the director of the Ashland library from 1972 until his retirement in 2002. He then became a member of the Talent City Council. He died on Dec. 19, 2013, at age 76.
Participants during Sunday's gathering are invited to share stories and memories. A string quartet composed of musicians from the Rogue Valley Symphony will perform, as will Rewind, the present resurrection of Talent's own 1960s Navarros, which was one of the top Northwest rock 'n' roll bands in the early 1960s before members of the group were drafted during the Vietnam War.
Wilson, who won a scholarship to Lawrence College in music, became a solo violinist, and music marked much of his life's activities. He played both the violin and the viola and was involved with several musical organizations, including Rogue Valley Symphony, the Rogue Opera and the Rogue Musical Theatre in Grants Pass.
Wilson became a librarian when the 10-hour daily practice sessions caused excessive cramping in his hands, and after study at the University of Wisconsin, at Whitewater, he was hired to direct the Ashland library.
Known for his long ponytail and bib overalls, Wilson formed the Ashland Teen Center in the library basement and made the library a place where people could meet, help and know their neighbors. He was involved with the construction of the new library and helped plan, design and improve its function.
He then became involved in the construction of the new Talent library, the remodeling of the Talent Community Center, and the erection of the new Talent City Hall after being elected to the council.
He was one of the first Youth Symphony board members and served on the Arts Council of Southern Oregon.
Wilson served on many other boards, including the Bear Creek Greenway, the Talent Historical Society, Talent Urban Renewal and a host of significant committees on both the Oregon and the American library associations.