Edward Wilson Sr, "Thanks for teaching me how to be a man . Thanks for showing me how to be a husband, father and friend . You showed me how to be a coach and mentor." Those words from Edward's only surviving son, Blair Alan Wilson, of Somerset, NJ, have been echoed by many upon his passing on September 4, 2020.
Ed, as most called him, was a Franklin Township icon. He didn't just share his love and laughter with his family. He generously gifted the entire community with care, kindness and lots and lots of dad jokes. If you were heading to the restroom, he'd surely be the guy to tell you to mention his name to get a good seat! He shaped the lives of students who left his shop class with the ability to build a house. Principal Wilson was the administrator who made students and faculty alike feel valued. Coach Wilson didn't just teach his Pop Warner football players the basics of his favorite game. He instilled respect, pride, dignity and honor. His primary tools? Patience and leading by example.
His exemplary life began in Haden, Colorado. Ed was born on July 29, 1937 to Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Wilson (deceased). He grew up with six siblings, Eglantine and Johnny Wilson Jr., both deceased. He is survived by sisters Inez Wilson, Augusta Youngblood and Eunice Gould and one brother, Frank Wilson. Haden was where Ed first showed promise as an athlete, lettering in football and basketball, before graduating from Haden High School in 1955.
In 1959 he answered his calling and enrolled at Adam State College, majoring in education. Upon graduation in 1963 he enlisted in the Navy where he served honorably for five years. Ed headed straight to the classroom after he was discharged. His first teaching post was in Jersey City, NJ. After working with students during the day he would continue his own education in night classes. It was there that he met the love of his life, Doris Glover. He gave her his last name in 1965. The Wilsons moved to Somerset, NJ and that's where they raised their family. They named their fist son, Edward Jr. though they affectionately called him Ned. Like his father, Ed Jr was smart, kind and funny. He married Joya Gray Wilson before his passing in 2010. Blair, their youngest son, married Jennifer Cook Wilson. They reside in Somerset with the apple of PopPop's eye, Ed's granddaughter Zoe.
Before officially becoming a PopPop. Ed didn't just serve as a role model for his own children, nieces, nephews and neighbors. He nurtured countless young men as a football coach. Some players will tell you that Coach Wilson mentored them before they even knew what a mentor was. While teaching Vocational Education in Piscataway, NJ he earned a Masters degree at Jersey City State College in Administration. He assumed the role of principal in 1984.
After retiring from education in 1990. He was able to focus on what he loved most, his family. When it came to family he was husband goals. He showered his bride with love and affection, even walking miles each day to spend time with her and share meals with her in a skilled nursing facility. It was no surprise when he began his heavenly transition on his late wife Doris' birthday. Young women would say that it was their dream to find a man who treasured his wife like Ed Wilson did.
Whether he was your father, grandfather, brother, uncle, neighbor, coworker, teacher, principal, mentor, coach or friend there are some beautiful ways to celebrate his life.
Offer guidance to a child. Teach them valuable skills so that they can care for their own homes and become good heads of household. Honor and uplift your family so that your light will shine through them for generations to come. And most of all and bring as much love and joy into the world as you possibly can.
If you live your life the way he did, there's no doubt that Ed will greet you at the pearly gates with a joke:
Heaven Seen you in Ages!
*Masks must be worn and there will be plenty of room for social distancing.
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