Elizabeth Burson Wilson "Sug"

August 27, 1915October 25, 2012

Elizabeth Burson Wilson, known as Sug, short for Sugar, died Thursday, October 25th, at the age of 97 at Marsh’s Edge on St. Simons Island. Born on the cusp of WWI to Napier and Florence Burson in Camilla, GA, she was a bareback riding tomboy and a lifelong nature lover. She came of age during the Depression, playing improvised honky-tonk piano tunes alongside the silent films that came to her tiny town. In 1936 she graduated from Agnes Scott College where she majored in Greek, music, field hockey, and basketball, and later attended the School of Social Work at Tulane University (’37) and the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University (’38). Representing the strength of her generation, she lived through WWII and the Vietnam War as a Red Cross social worker assigned to aiding military families, all the while raising four children alone after being widowed at age 46. During the 1960s, she enrolled in night school at Georgia State University for her master’s degree in teaching which led her to pioneer DeKalb County’s first high school vocational program in Special Education. With her only son deployed to Vietnam, she took on a second job teaching English to many of the Vietnamese refugees flooding into the Atlanta area. At the same time she made it a priority to send her three daughters to college. An avid swimmer, reader, and crossword puzzler who had faith in both the democratic process and the stock market, Sug was never one to complain. She simply stepped in to do the things that needed to be done--one of those people who held it all together for the rest of us. The Chinese have a saying: May you live in interesting times. Sug made all of our times more interesting. She was generous, smart, and treated everybody the same. A big smile from Sug meant something. Predeceased by her husband, John McKamie Wilson, SR, and her brother, Napier Burson, JR, MD, Sug is survived by her son John McKamie Wilson, JR, (Connie) of Midlothian, VA, Betsy Wilson Simmons (Greg) of St. Simons Island, GA, Catharine Wilson Viale (Regis) of Le Lavandou, France, and Glen Wilson Finland (Bruce) of McLean, VA. She leaves nine terrific grandchildren: Derek Wilson (Ann Marie) of Midlothian, VA, Sean Simmons (Lauren) of St. Simons Island, Josh Simmons, MD, (Nicole) of Augusta, GA, Morgan Viale and Anais Viale of Le Lavandou, France, Eugenie Viale Hinton of London, UK, Max Finland of Jacksonville, FL, Eric Finland of New York, NY, and David Finland of McLean, VA. In addition, there are seven beautiful great-grandchildren, many beloved nieces and nephews, and her cherished in-laws Mary Jane and Albert Staton, JR, of Coral Gables, FL. Elizabeth Burson Wilson was a member of the First Baptist Church of St. Simons and the Friendship Finders Sunday School Class. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA), the Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the St. Simons Land Trust (St. Simons Island, GA). A memorial service is planned for November 3rd at Marsh’s Edge on St. Simons Island, at 11 AM..


  • Memorial Services Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elizabeth Burson Wilson "Sug"

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Nickie Athanason

November 1, 2012

I want to express my condolences to Glen and all the other members of her extended family on the loss of her mother SUG. May she rest in peace!

Janet Auten

October 31, 2012

best wishes and much affection for Glen and the family.
While I never met Sug, I feel I know her through the tales from her talented daughter, Glen. May you all feel a sense of strength and celebration in this well-lived life.

Marcia Christopher

October 31, 2012

Sug's passing was as difficult for Tyrone and I to handle as it was for us when his Mother died and when my Mother died. She had always made us feel as though we were her family too, from the time Betsy and Grey married. Sug was the epitome of a Southern Lady with her easy smile and her gracious welcome.

October 31, 2012

I'm so sorry, but I forgot to sign my name to my entry, so the "anonymous" entry should be from me, Nancy Pearson Brewster. My entry was written on the 29th. Again, I love you Mrs. Sug.

Elizabeth Wilson

October 31, 2012

October 30, 2012

I could literally write a book on how great Mrs. Wilson (Sug) was. I spent a lot of time as a child in the Wilson home with my great friend, Cathy, and her Mom made me feel like just part of the family. I've recently seen Glen, which was wonderful, and I fondly remember Betsy and Mac, Mr. Wilson, and even their collie, Bob. Mrs. Wilson ran a wonderful household full of love and fun. She made a cozy and happy home for her family and their friends. Like I told Glen, Heaven just got a beautiful new angel. I love you, Mrs. Sug.

Joseph Meeler

October 30, 2012

Mrs. Wilson was a good and generous lady. I am glad to have known a person of her high character, a true lady who always exhibited a positive attitude toward life and the people around her. In the lives of her fine children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, she will live forever.

Sunny Freeman Jones

October 29, 2012

What a well-lived life! James ("Jimmy") and I were both greatly enriched by you mom's positivity, kindness and humor. I will always remember her at the Red Cross office in Decatur with her long line of clients whom she helped and guided. Who knows how many thousands of lives she touched in her long and rich life? Blessings to you all as you navigate through this profound loss. I'm sure Virginia's happy to hug her on the other side.

G. Johnson

October 29, 2012

May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.

Dena Altman Hampton

October 29, 2012

Mac, Betsy, Cathy and Glen, I have such fond memories of growing up in Decatur and spending time with you and your parents. I loved both Mac and Liz. I am so sorry for your loss, your Mom was a wonderful inspiratinal woman that touched many lives including mine. My deepest sympathy.