James William “Bill” Wilson

Published 3:20 pm Saturday, October 19, 2013

James W. “Bill” Wilson passed away on Oct. 15, 2013 at his home in Lynn, after a brief illness.

Born on Jan. 18, 1915 in Polk County, Bill lived most of his younger years in what became known as the “Wright House,” which was located next to the Tryon Presbyterian Church near Harmon Field.

It was during this time that his parents, Charles William and Emma Johnson Wilson donated a parcel of land to the Harmon Foundation to help build a recreation area for the youth of Polk County.

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Bill entered the work force as a self-employed truck driver, making local and long-distance deliveries for two years. After that, he worked as an auto mechanic for Edney’s garage in Pacolet Valley for three years, followed by employment at Adams-Millis Corporation in Tryon.

It was during this time that he enlisted in the Army Air Force. Stationed at Pinellas AFB near St. Petersburg, Fla., he worked as a mechanic on military equipment. Following his discharge from the service, he returned to work at Adam Millis, and was there until the mill closed. He then entered the carpenter trade, working first with Wise Homes of Spartanburg, S.C., followed by Paul Reneau Inc. of Landrum. He retired from this company in 1980.

Among the things that he enjoyed doing in life when he wasn’t working were watching baseball games (especially the Atlanta Braves team), fishing (watching the bobber or awaiting the feel of a bite while resting on the bank) and horses (plowing, driving or pleasure riding).

During the 1955 Polk County Centennial Celebration at Harmon Field, he participated in a pageant scene by driving to church with his family in his horse-drawn buggy.

He was a member of the Pacolet Baptist Church where he served not only as a deacon and superintendent of Sunday School, but also as one who was instrumental in the remodeling and maintenance of the church property.

Bill was the last surviving member of his family, being pre-deceased by his parents, and all of his siblings: one sister, Bertha Wilson Morton of Chicago, Ill.; and three brothers, all of Polk County: Robert Amos, Charles Edwin (“Sam”) and Elmer Gray (“Doc”).

He is survived by his wife of 77 years, Martha Thompson Wilson; his daughter, Emma Jean (“Sue”), and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at Pacolet Baptist Church on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.

A time for visitation of family and friends will follow immediately after the service in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Pacolet Baptist Church in his honor.