A native and resident of Baton Rouge, he passed away Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, at age 80. Mr. Wilson was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Visitation at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East, 11000 Florida Blvd., on Monday, Feb. 11, was from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visitation at Sherwood Baptist Church, 1180 S. Flannery Road, where he was an active member, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. until funeral service at 11 a.m., conducted by Dr. David Womack. Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife of 58 years, Angelina Mumphrey Wilson; a daughter and son-in-law, Dianne Wilson Waller and husband Wayne Waller; two sons, John H. Wilson Jr. and his partner and caregiver David D. Nugent, and Denver C. Wilson; three sisters, Maude Gilbert, Ora Nell Wilson and Myrtle Lois Sells; three grandchildren, Andrea Wilson Miller, Renee Dianne Graphia and Dax Wilson; and two great-grandchildren, Olivia Miller and Jack Allain. Preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Anna Wilson; seven brothers and 12 sisters. Pallbearers will be Brett Schelin, Dax Wilson, Lynne Hernandez, Darrell Beard, Danny J. Bevan, Anthony Robinson, Wayne Waller and David Nugent. Honorary pallbearers are members of his Sunday school class. With what began as a jewelry repair business in 1949 at Third and Laurel streets in Baton Rouge, Mr. Wilson, a master jeweler, developed his business into a jewelry catalogue showroom and retail enterprise that grew to 80 stores in 12 states, making him a true pioneer in the catalogue showroom industry. Mr. Wilson served as the chairman of the board of the Great American Corp. and co-founded Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. He received the Tocqueville Society Award In 1998 and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2001, was inducted into the Baton Rouge Business Awards Hall of Fame in 2002, and received the Horatio Alger Award in 2007. He was named B'nai B'rith Man of the Year and Baton Rouge Free Enterpriser of the Year. He was active with the National Hemophilia Foundation and was a board member of General Health, a major hospital, and the Salvation Army in Baton Rouge. Through the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, the Wilsons have shared in their philanthropic endeavors, which have been particularly sensitive to the handicapped, both physical and mental, those afflicted with disease, disadvantaged youth, the hungry and the homeless.
Published in TheAdvocate.com from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12, 2008