Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — CARO — James A. Wilson, Sr., age 77, entered glory on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw. Jim was born Oct. 28, 1935, in Wyandotte, Mich., the son of the late Frank E. and Viola Grace (Crossett) Wilson. As a young man, Jim worked as a brakeman on the New York Central Railroad, as a dragline operator with the Tuscola County Road Commission, and as a skilled-trade journeyman welder for General Motors.
Due to his son Jamie’s 1976 tragic car accident, he and his wife, Dorothea founded and continued to operate The Lighthouse, Inc. The Lighthouse Neurological Rehabilitation serves children and adults with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, autism and developmental disabilities.
Jim’s walk with his Savior, Jesus, began May 30, 1962. Caro’s First Baptist pastor, Olaf Jensen, led him in a salvation prayer in the Jacob Road farm pasture. He was then baptized during the Bible school closing program. He ministered as a Boy’s Brigade leader, a Sunday School teacher and SS bus driver, a youth group leader and the jail ministry. He sang hymns, played his guitar and shared his faith for 17 years to the residents at the Tuscola County Medical Care Facility. Jim loved his family. He enjoyed his dogs, hunting, fishing, euchre, guitar playing, inventing, traveling and his mandatory McDonald’s morning senior coffee with his family.
Jim is survived by his wife of over 58 years, Dorothea G. Wilson of Caro; two daughters, five sons and their spouses, Vicky and Kevin Phelps of Lexington, Ky., Yvonne Wagner of Northville, Keith and Terri Wilson of Caro, Mark and Monserrat Wilson of Kingsley, Michael Wilson of Essexville, Terry and Mandy Wilson of Caro, Luke and Jamie Wilson of Caro; 18 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; one sister, Eva Mae Witte of Brownstown Township; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by one son, James A. “Jamie” Wilson Jr. on Feb. 21, 1989; one grandson, Gary Stonerock on Dec. 24, 2006; and one great-grandson, Eric Daniel Engram on Feb. 16, 2004; three sisters, Gladys “Betty” Gratiot, Alice Jean Peer, Dorothea Grace Wilson; and one brother, Frank E. Wilson, Jr.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at the Caro First Baptist Church with Rev. Dale Byers, a retired Chaplain for the Lighthouse, and Rev. Ron Wigand officiating. A private family burial will follow at the Almer Township Cemetery in Caro. The family will receive friends at the Ransford Collon Funeral Home in Caro today, April 16, from 2 to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, April 17, at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at 11 a.m.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorial contributions to the Michigan Brain Injury Association, 7305 Grand River Avenue, Suite 100, Brighton, MI 48114, or Compassion International, 12290 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Friends may share memories, thoughts and prayers online at www.RansfordCollon.com.
The family was assisted with these arrangements by the Ransford Collon Funeral Home of Caro.