DONALD DEAN WILSON, SR.
Donald Dean Wilson, Sr., age 86, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. He was born and raised in Covington, KY, the son of the late, Ollie Wade (Jones) and Oscar Dean Wilson. A graduate of Holmes HS in 1948, he played football and boxed varsity. In his youth Don worked as an usher at the Albee Theater in Cincinnati and a baritone saxophonist in swing bands. He relocated to Lexington for study at UK, where he received his BS and PhD in Chemistry and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. All his life Don remained a dedicated UK basketball fan.
During the Korean War, he proudly served his country as a Lieutenant in the Air Force, stationed in Biloxi, MS; Roswell, NM and Caribou, ME, before returning to Lexington for his doctorate. While at UK he married the brilliant Marian Whitesel, who carried their first child at Don’s graduation in 1959.
He launched an exciting career at DuPont Company as a research chemist and moved his family to Buffalo, NY in 1960. Soon two more children arrived and he became an Episcopalian. Don was an astronomy enthusiast in the “space age” and took his family to Expo 67 in Montreal. He and Marian performed in musicals, and his kids became swimmers emulating their dad, whom Marian would say “swam like a torpedo.” Don also enjoyed golf, tennis and kayaking. He instilled in his children an appreciation for the arts, and in 1975 the family embarked on a classic American road trip.
At DuPont Don became a Special Representative, traveling the US, Europe and Asia to advise industries such as aviation and hydroponics on the properties of Tedlar. He earned a circle of close friends who were transferred from Buffalo to Wilmington, DE around the same time he was, in 1969. He retired from DuPont in 1992 and travelled with Marian to China and Russia. In 2007 the couple hosted a party for their 50th wedding anniversary at Wilcastle.
He was a member of St. Barnabas and Christ Church but found his spiritual home at Immanuel Highlands, where he was a Vestry Member and a Eucharistic Visitor. A long-term contributor to Friendship House, Don also served with Delaware Youth for Christ. Outside the church Don coached the Westover Wildcats little league football team, supported Biden Democrats, and attended the Osher Institute.
His wife of 58 years, Marian Lorine (Whitesel) Wilson, passed away this past May 11, 2016. Don is survived by his 3 children, Donald Dean Wilson, Jr. and his wife Huong Thu Nguyen; Michael Gregory Wilson and Amy Lorine Trotman and her husband Todd and 2 grandsons, Oscar Dean Wilson II and Graham Edouard Wilson. He is also preceded in death by his sister, Betty Jean Roberts.
A celebration of Life for Don Wilson will be held on Saturday, December 3, at 11 am, at Immanuel Church, Highlands, 2400 West 17th St., Wilmington, DE 19806. Burial will be private. A reception will follow the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Immanuel Church Highlands www.immanuel-highlands.org.
For online condolences visit: www.mcreryandharra.com