Funeral services for Ray G. Wilson, 87, will be held 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at Northside United Methodist Church, Jackson, TN, with Don Thrasher officiating. The family will receive friends Tuesday May 24, from 5-7 p.m. at Arrington Funeral Directors, Jackson, TN. Mr. Wilson was born February 23, 1924 in Pittsburg, KS the son of the late Ira and Stella Wilson.
He enlisted after graduation from Pittsburg High School on the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. He became a paratrooper in the 508th Regiment and jumped on D-Day into Normandy.
He later became a squad leader of 12 men in the parachute infantry squad and fought in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He was wounded in Holland and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Silver Star medal in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. Other awards included the Presidential Unit Citation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Belgium Fourragere.
He returned to Europe for the 50th and 65th anniversaries of D-Day where the veterans were honored as the liberators of France, Belgium and Holland.
After WWII he graduated from the University of Arizona and pursued a career in Journalism. He worked as city editor of the Greenville News in Greenville, SC and the Press-Scimitar in Memphis, TN. His lifelong career of writing included 14 books including Swastika Smashers and numerous poems and essays, including Isn't God's Hug Good? He also was the Jackson Symphony League Newsletter editor for several years.
He enjoyed being one of the few male members of the Jackson Symphony League. He was devoted to writing/giving poems and essays emphasizing God's love and blessings to everyone he met. His Christian faith was evident through his writings as well as his membership in Emmaus, Northside United Methodist Church, Fellowship Sunday School Class and the Saturday Morning Men's Bible Study. He was the oldest member of Gold's Gym and worked out with weights regularly until his fall in 2010. He emphasized the importance of a healthy vegetarian diet and regular exercise in his writings as well. He leaves four daughters: Cynthia Carruth (Larry) of Jackson, TN, Astrid Smith (Jimmy, Sr.) of Arlington, TN, Kristin Kitchen of Memphis, TN, and Camille Harper (Terry, Sr.) of Memphis, TN; six grandchildren, Stephanie Kurita of Nashville, TN, Eric Carruth of Memphis, TN, Jeremy Kitchen of Memphis, TN, Jimmy Smith Jr. of Arlington, TN, Terry Harper Jr. of Memphis, TN, and Ingrid Harper of Memphis, TN; two great-grandchildren, Marin Wilson Kurita of Nashville, TN and Carsten Smith of Arlington, TN.
He made his final jump on May 20, 2011.
I learned just a little over a month ago that Ray Wilson passed away in Tennessee. He was a member of our trip back to Europe for the 65th Anniversary two years ago. I was unable to attend the funeral but I had asked Cynthia, hs daughter, if she would forward to me a few pictures of Ray that I have decided to share on this blog. You will be missed my many Ray and you will never be forgotten for what you had done. Below is his obituary: