Naples, Fla. – Donald Goss Wilson, 90, resident of Naples, Fla. and former resident of Daleville and Monticello, passed away at NCH Hospital in Naples, Fla. on Monday, January 24, 2022.
He was born in Anderson, September 3, 1931, the son of Bennie and Martha (Copeland) Wilson.
In the summer of 1938, he was seriously injured in an accident at the future site of Delco Remy Plant 7. George Looper, his future brother in law, who was 13 at the time managed to save him from sand that had fallen and buried him. He spent 6 months in a cast recuperating from back injuries.
In his youth he had several jobs starting at the age of 12, ranging from stock boy (Eavey’s Super Market), soda jerk (Quinn’s Southside Drugs) to pin spotter (Brown’s Bowling Alley), he also sold ice cream from a bicycle (Whitehead Ice Cream Company). In Junior High and early High School he was on the Basketball, Football, Track and Cross Country teams. After a Football injury he decided that Cross Country might be a more suitable sport.
He was a 1945 graduate of Washington Elementary and a 1947 graduate of Washington Junior High School. In 1951 he graduated from Anderson High School. He also graduated from Anderson Apprentice School in 1957 earning an Apprenticeship in Drafting.
A veteran of the U.S. Army 1951 – 1953, 10th Infantry – Fort Riley, Kansas; AAA Camp Foreman – Salzburg, Austria. At Fort Riley he completed leadership school as number one in his class, he always felt this may have been the reason he was sent to Austria instead of Korea. He traveled overseas for 19 days in a troop ship that was carrying 3,000 soldiers destined for the war in Korea. While stationed in Salzburg, Austria he was an instructor, squad leader and section leader. He was still stationed in Salzburg when his first son was born in February 1953. His first orders home were cancelled which lead to his first night of drinking. This took place at the infamous General Walker Hotel in Obersalzberg, Germany, his drinking buddies included Jack Kralik, Don Hamilton and Dick Kitchen. In September he finally shipped home, 16 days on a small ship, he described it as a rough trip.
He began his career at Delco Remy working the summer of 1950 in GMC Department 806. Upon graduation he was hired in Product Design at Plant 1. He retired from General Motors (Delco Remy) after 36 years working in Product Design and Management. After retiring from Delco Remy in 1987, he worked for Rapid Design until 1993.
In 1958 he moved his family to Daleville. Two years later in 1960 the yellow cottage on the Big Monon Bay was purchased, followed by the 1965 purchase of a group of three cottages on Lake Shafer.
He was active in the Daleville Methodist Church, teaching Adult Sunday School, serving as Stewardship Chairman and Charmain of the Finance Committee. Served as president of the Daleville Lions Club (1968) and was elected twice to the Salem Community School Board (1972 – 1980) serving as president. He was also involved in the early days of Daleville Little League Baseball serving as president in 1964. In 1962 which was his rookie year as a Little League coach, his team went undefeated, this team included his bench warming son. He was a founding member of the Dolphin Swim Club.
He was an accomplished water skier, teaching his children as well as many others in what was still considered a developing sport at the time. If you were a struggling beginner, it is likely that he grabbed his orange life jacket, jumped in the water and helped you control your skis so that you could get up. Around the lake he was known as the cool dad with the movie camera. He typically had a camera with him and rarely missed his children’s sporting events or a water ski show they were performing in.
On November 22, 1990, he married Luewan Juanita Willis Kersey in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Upon retirement he picked up the pace on the home improvements he had always been making to his lake property in Monticello. His remodeling traits included a love for white enamel paint and mirrors, he spent a good portion of his life on a ladder.
His hand writing was distinct and legible, he meticulously labeled and filed just about everything that could benefit from it.
He was admired for his research into the history of the Wilson family, creating much cherished Genealogy charts for family members. He was always in attendance at the annual Wilson Family Reunion.
An avid reader, upon completing a book he would mark a grade on the inside front cover reflecting his thoughts on the publication.
He had a tremendous love for music, if the television was off the music was on.
With the exception of six months in the hospital recovering from a broken back when he was young, he remained active throughout his entire life. Still taking a daily ride on his three wheel bicycle until taking an accidental fall at home on Christmas Eve 2021. Hobbies included tennis, bowling, golf, on a Friday night you might find him throwing a few punches from the couch while watching a televised boxing match. Or arguing with the television, as announcer Tony Hinkle laid on a little too much local bias during an Indiana State Basketball Championship broadcast. He was very proud of the Anderson Indian’s basketball heritage. He also loved wrestling with his grandchildren, he typically lost.
At the end of 2012 he took full retirement moving to sunny Florida, relaxing with his loving wife Lue while watching the sun go down.
He is survived by his wife Luewan (Kersey) of Naples; children, Michael Wilson, Chicago, Illinois, Steven (Karen) Wilson, Chesterfield, Ronald Wilson, Daleville, Jennifer (David) Boltz, Garland, Texas, Kenneth Kersey, Naples, Florida; grandchildren, Amber (Jon) Ryder, Nick (Kourtney) Wilson, Adam (Merrick) Boltz, Brian (Miranda) Boltz, Crimson Scott, Layne (Angie) Coots; great grandchildren, Austin Ryder, Jackson Ryder, Owen Wilson, Nora Wilson, Elliot Boltz, Maylee Boltz, Laynie Boltz, Breanna Townsend, Branden Scott, Jacob Scott, Emma Coots, Tyler Coots, Chelsa Coots, Ethan Coots; sisters, Anna Looper, Maxine (Wayne) James.
He was preceded in death by his parents Bennie and Martha Wilson; grandson Mikolai Wilson Laszczewski; brothers, Denny Wilson, Dallas Wilson; sisters, Leva Taylor, Tillie Dobbins, Elsie Carmack, Geneva Gentry; cousin, James Stewart.
Graveside Services will be held at 11:00 Saturday February 12, 2022 at Anderson Memorial Park in the cemetery chapel near the entrance. Military honors will be conducted by the Middletown American Legion and the US Army.