Jack William Wilson
February 7, 1924 – September 7, 2019
Jack William Wilson, 95, passed away quietly September 7, 2019, in Sun City, Arizona. Born in Anaheim, California, February 7, 1924, Jack did his growing up on an orange ranch. A 1941 graduate of Anaheim Union High School, he received an agricultural deferment from military service in June1941, as the sole support of his mother. He cared for 45 acres of orange groves during this time. He gave up the deferment to join the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1944 and served as a pharmacist’s mate until the summer of 1946, working in hospitals in Oceanside and Corona, California.
Jack married Barbara Jean Van Ark on September 4, 1946, and they were married until her death June 18, 2016. He and Barbara both attended the University of Redlands, California, graduating in 1949. Jack attended San Francisco Theological Seminary 1949-1952, and was ordained a Presbyterian minister June 1, 1952. He was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tenino, WA, 1952-1957, the First Presbyterian Church of Kennewick, WA, 1957 – 1967, and Maplewood Presbyterian Church, Edmonds, WA, 1967-1987. He filled in as pastor at the Neah Bay Presbyterian Church in Neah Bay, WA, for six months in 1979.
Always passionate about justice and equality, Jack organized regular youth mission trips to the San Francisco Mission district and Metlakatla, Alaska, helped to register black voters during Freedom Summer, and worked with Native Americans on giving them a voice in the Presbytery. He initiated a Singles Ministry, a State Parks Ministry, and a Prisons Ministry in the Presbytery of North Puget Sound. He served on the Korean Human Rights Council of Washington State. He was given the Witherspoon Award of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in recognition of these activities in 1987.
Jack served on committees and boards of the denomination and other programs. He was president of the ecumenical United Ministries in Higher Education Regional Board, and served on the board of campus ministry of the University of Washington. He also served on the Board of Pensions of the national Presbyterian Church, and was moderator of two Presbyteries and the Synod of Alaska Northwest.
A natural leader, Jack worked hard to build ecumenical ties throughout his ministry. He was involved with the Ecumenical Institute in Seattle for a number of years, and launched the Impact ministers’ group in the Edmonds area. He sparked the formation of the South Snohomish Association of Churches. And in 1990, he initiated a group called the Council of Ecumenical Elders in the Seattle region.
After his retirement in 1987, Jack spent two years as a volunteer pastor to Maori communities in New Zealand and participated in an intergenerational mission to Maya Indians in the Yucatán. He continued to read books and publications on modern theology and taught several classes on that topic. He was involved with the formation of the Institute for Ecumenical Theological Studies, a seminary for protestant ministers attached to Seattle University. He joined the Windjammers Barbershop Singers, and performed with them several times, once in Germany. He also competed in bodysurfing competitions in Oceanside, California, where he and Barbara shared a vacation condo with their daughter for several years.
Jack grew to love travel. An inheritance paid for his first big trip, to Asia in 1965. In 1978, he took a sabbatical to Israel for 3 months. In 1985, he went around the world in 90 days. He and Barbara also coordinated and escorted friends and colleagues on trips to New Zealand and Great Britain.
Jack loved the beach and being with family. He liked a good conversation and pushing the envelope. He enjoyed mentoring and encouraging younger ministers. Family will miss most his big heart, his beautiful voice, his welcoming smile, and the popcorn balls he made at Christmas.
Jack is survived by his sons, Thomas K. Wilson of Lacey, WA, and Scott K. Wilson of Pasco, WA, and his daughter, Catherine Wilson Metz of Sun City, AZ, his grandchildren Megan J. Wertz of Glendale, CA, Paige C. Doyle of Lacey, WA, Cara J. Wilson of Pasco, WA, and Teagan L. Wilson of Valley Village, CA, and his great-grandchildren Flynn Thomas Barton Doyle, Dashiell Bascom Doyle, and Ismene Vivianne Doyle of Lacey, WA. He was predeceased by his wife Barbara and his grandson Kirk A. Wilson.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 19, 2019 at Maplewood Presbyterian Church, Edmonds, Washington. His ashes will be interred at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery.
Maplewood Presbyterian Church
19523 84th Ave W