Donald Lewis Wilson passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, Oct 19, at the age of 102. He moved to Santa Rosa five years ago from his home of fifty years in Los Altos.
He was born Feb 23, 1911, in Tarkio, Missouri to Guy Wilford and Ida Myrtle Wilson. When he was six weeks old, the family immigrated to Saskatchewan, by train, to join his mother’s parents in a farming venture—his mother and the younger children traveled in the Pullman car—the rest of the family in a box car--living off a crock of pork and beans prepared for the four day/2000 mile journey.
The family returned to Nebraska in 1919, settling on a farm in Randolph.
His siblings eventually numbered seven: Earl, Irvine, Virgil, Russell, Friel, Woodrow and Grace.
Graduating from high school in June 1929, he describes this as, “The worst of times.” The stock market had just crashed; there was 30% unemployment; his family had had 3 crop failures, and “grass hoppers ate everything but the fence posts.” In spite of that, he became engaged to his high school sweetheart, Margaret Isadore Wilson, asking her to wait for him until he had established himself.
Two of his brothers had found employment in California and, in 1930, he followed them. His first job was as a ranch hand on Mt. Diablo. Returning to Nebraska seven years later, he married Isadore in 1937. He went on to become an agent for State Farm Insurance, moving quickly to district manager in the counties of: Solano, San Francisco and San Mateo.
He was married for 68 years to Isadore who passed away in 2006. He then remarried and is survived by Marilyn Wilson who remained by his side, nursing him in his final years.
His career with State Farm Insurance spanned more than three decades, and he spoke fondly of his fortunate choice of a career path which helped him achieve “success in life, liberty and happiness.“
He is survived by his five children: Roger (Dao), Larry (Ann), Joyce Hodgkinson (Bill), Gordon, and Nancy Milner (Rick).
His stories, riddles and domino games will be especially missed by his ten grandchildren: Kevin Hong, Donald Wilson (Charis), Craig Wilson (Alison), Chris Elkins (Luisa), Anna Paris, Eve Lundsten (Lonny), Joey Hodgkinson, Kiersten Deen (Nathan), Aaron Helgeson (Jen), and Bret Milner (Rebecca). He remained close to his loving niece, Nancy Brixey-Brasser (Gary) and sister-in-law, Ida Mae Arnold. He was very proud of his great grandchildren: Kaya Berry, Lake and Olive Lundsten, Logan Deen, Samuel Wilson, Elizabeth Helgeson.
His only living sibling, Grace (Wilson) Reese, lives in Paradise, CA with her husband, Bob.
A memorial service will be held at the Santa Rosa Bible Church on Monday, Nov 11, at 10:30 am.