Rev. James B. Wilson, Jr.
Rev. James B. Wilson, Jr. passed away March 6, 2019, in Silver City, NM at the age of 89 years. Jim was born September 26, 1929, in Bayfield, WI to James B. and Ruth Wilson, devoted Baptists. After his family moved to Minneapolis, Jim became increasingly involved in church activities leading to his desire to become a minister. As a teenager, he used money he had earned from part time jobs to purchase a saxophone, which he would play at the gospel mission for the homeless. Later he formed a group called the High School Christian Fellowship, which would meet at different schools in the afternoon for fellowship and faith discussions.
Elaine first met Jim when he was the speaker at her Methodist church Sunday evening, youth group talking about high school Christian fellowship opportunities in the Twin Cities. After a two-year courtship, Jim and Elaine were married in 1949. Jim graduated from the University of Minnesota, majoring in Philosophy, and having already been influenced by the writings of renowned theologians Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, he specifically chose to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York City, so he could study under them. While in Seminary, he worked with at risk youth in Harlem. Jim graduated in 1955, with a Master of Divinity, choosing to work within the Presbyterian faith.
Rev. Wilson, with his wife Elaine always at his side, took his first pastorate in a four-point parish in Stanford, MT. where he preached at four different churches, two in the morning and two in the evening, every Sunday. Being advised by his physician to move to a warmer climate, Jim moved to the Southwest. He served as a pastor to congregations in many towns including Wellton, Wickenburg and Douglas, in Arizona; Fox Island in Washington State, and Silver City, Glenwood, and Reserve, in New Mexico. Of special note, while in the Northwest, Jim negotiated a peace treaty between local Native Americans and property owners over fishing rights along the shorelines, and taught philosophy courses to Federal prisoners. Jim retired but continued to enjoy a busy life in Silver City, renovating old homes, working with Gila Habitat for Humanity and the Silver City Main Street Project, and singing in the church choir. Jim had many other interests throughout his life, including restoring cars, especially 50’s and 60’s Jaguars, creating watercolor paintings of local landscapes, playing his saxophone, helping cook breakfast for the men’s fellowship, and staying healthy by hiking, cycling, jogging, or walking. Jim also spent evenings reading the challenging writings of the world philosophers.
Rev. Wilson leaves behind his loving wife of 69 years, Elaine Wilson, four sons and their wives, Timothy (Juana) of Lakewood, WA, Mark (Laura) of Gaithersburg, MD, Paul of Euless, TX, and Matthew (Shawneen) of Silver City, NM, along with 14 grandchildren, two sisters, Barbara and Ruth, a brother David, other relatives and many friends.
Family and friends are invited to a visitation at 9:00am prior to a service celebrating the life of Rev. James B. Wilson, Jr. at the Silver City First United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 10:00am. Reverend David Goble will officiate this service. Interment for Rev. Wilson will take place at Memory Lane Cemetery, Silver City, NM.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in the name of Rev. James B. Wilson may be given to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, P.O Box 50, Memphis, TN 380101-9929, or donate on line www.stjude.org. Bright Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, “Traditional Services and Care for your family and friends”, 210 W. College Ave., Silver City, NM 88061. Phone 575-388-1911. Remembrances can be made at www.brightfuneral.net