1924-2019, Mr. James Willis (Pop) Wilson passed away on Friday August 2, 2019 at East Alabama Medical Center following a brief illness. He was 95 years old. To all who knew him, he was Pop. His smile, his hearty handshake, his great sense of humor will be missed by all who ever met him.
Mr. Wilson was born to James T. Wilson and Eva Willis Wilson on April 3, 1924 in Shawmut, Alabama. He attended Dadeville Public Schools and graduated from high school in May of 1943. Mr. Wilson was captain of the Dadeville Tigers football team in both junior and senior years. Upon graduation, he immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and completed his basic training at Paris Island, South Carolina. After boot camp, he was sent to gunnery school and then the Philippines from where he flew bombing missions in the Pacific theatre of war.
His enlistment ended in 1946 and he returned to Alabama where he enrolled in Alabama Polytechnical Institute (now Auburn University), with the goal of playing football. After a job offer from the Alabama Department of Public Health in the summer of 1948, he began his 38-year career as an Alabama health officer. He was an avid Auburn and Atlanta Braves fan, loved fishing, hunting and spending time with his family. Mr. Wilson was one of the first Little League Baseball coaches in this area coaching teams from the early 1950’s through 1969. Pop Wilson was a long- standing member of Liberty Baptist Church, Opelika, where he served as a deacon. He was appointed as Deacon Emeritus once he could no longer actively serve.
Mr. Wilson was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Lucille Higgins, his brother Ralph Wilson, a grand daughter Kelly Melton and his beloved wife Emilie Ruth with whom he spent 67 wonderful years.
He is survived by his sons, Thomas James (Neva) Wilson and Michael Hugh Wilson; grandchildren, Matthew (Beth) Wilson, Meredith Mitchell, Chris (Mandy) Wilson, Melissa Wilson, Danni (Chris) Mezick, Nick Whatley. His lineage includes eleven great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren, plus several nieces and nephews.
Visitation for family and friends will be held on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 from 10:00am until 11:45am in the parlor of Frederick-Dean Funeral Home. A graveside service will follow at Rosemere Cemetery led by Pastor Drue Tubbs and Rev. Frank Chappell. The family requests that to honor Mr. Wilson’s wishes, no flowers be sent but that gifts be made in his memory to: Wounded Warrior Retreat, C/O Dr. Robert Driggers, 8722 Elam Church Road, Norwood, Georgia 30821.
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