Jay Curtis Wilson
July 31, 1929 – October 21, 2019
It is with great sadness that that the family of Jay Curtis Wilson announces his passing after a brief illness at his Texarkana, TX home on Monday, October 21, 2019 , at the age of 90 years. Jay is fondly remembered by his wife of more than 60 years, Faye Buster Wilson, and his children, Theresa Shell of Lago Vista, TX, Lenna Jaye O’Dell and Leanne (Derrick) Maynard, both of Texarkana, TX. He was deeply loved by his granddaughter Macy Maynard who he fondly called “Macy-Girl”. Jay was preceded in death by his son Thomas Jerry Wilson, his parents, Curtis and Era Wilson as well as all of his siblings. They include Aileen Parker Sanders of Camden, Lee Wilson Smith of Hurst, TX, Ray Wilson of Stephens, Hugh Wilson of Stephens and Frank Wilson, brother and casualty of WWII. Jay C. Willson, was born in 1929 in Camden, Arkansas. He would live in Stephens, AR for more than 50 years until retiring to Texarkana, TX to be near his granddaughter. Mr. Wilson was a collector of antiques, vintage cars, guns, all things aviation and law enforcement, junk food junkie and a “self-made, oil man”. Jay’s career started in the oil fields as a Roughneck on oil rigs and then progressed through the ranks as a Gauger & Pumper to eventually drilling, oil producing and equipment supply store ownership. He was President of several companies including Wilson Pipe & Supply, Three Way Oil Company and Producers Supply, Inc.
As a young boy, Jay, fell in love with airplanes and aviation after meeting Amelia Earhart. He would often tell his older brothers and sisters that he would one day become a pilot as the youngsters would see an occasional plane fly overhead the cotton fields they were plowing. Jay would tell them “one day I’ll own one of them” to much teasing. But this determined young man would gain his pilot’s license and own three air planes during his life.
Jay Wilson cared deeply for the small town of Stephens, AR. He was a founding member of the Stephens Chamber of Commerce and served on this board for two terms as President as well as in various other capacities. He was Chairman of the Stephens, Ouachita County Airport Commission and it was his “untiring efforts” and leadership as cited by an area newspaper that saw the raw land become a municipal airport for the community. Wilson Field, remains today and is noted in the Arkansas Public and Private Airports Register. He served as President of the Stephens Lions Club and was inducted into The Outstanding Civic Leaders of America. He helped establish the Stephens Country Club. He received honors from the Ouachita County Medical Center for contributions to the student loan fund to help educate and bring physicians to the area. He served on the hospital’s Board of Directors for 12 years. He was a member of the Stephens City Council for several terms. Jay was honored by Stephens Security Bank for his work on the Board of Directors from 1987 until 2017. Jay was a member of the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, donating his salary, time and personal resources to the agency for seven years. While there he received a Certificate of Training from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy with top scores in his class. Jay proudly wore his academy graduation ring as a symbol his accomplishment. Gaining his GED, he was an education advocate who saw both daughters graduate college in their chosen fields.
Jay was a math savant who mentored many in oil exploration, oil field supply and business development in the industry. He could often be found at the local cafe with town leaders discussing the latest community issues. His daughter, Leanne, often teased her father about his role in seeing the town’s sole traffic light replaced by stop signs after proposing to the city how much they could save on electricity. She would say he took away her ability to call Stephens a “one stop-light town”.
Through out his life Mr. Wilson received letters of thanks from schools, organizations, state and national leaders. One such note is a handwritten and addressed letter from Governor Bill Clinton for his campaign help. Mr. Wilson often spoke of when he was flying Governor Clinton and his wife, Hillary, on campaign stops and the airplane’s door was not properly secured before take off. He had to emergency land at the airport to then secure the open door. Jay would often laugh at how Mrs. Clinton was shaken by the experience and how he was then teased by Hillary about ensuring the door was secure. When President Clinton met members of Jay’s family in later years, Clinton would ask, “How is Jay doing and to pass along his regards”.
Mr. Wilson brought several industries to Stephens including Layton Oil Company that kept dozens of individuals employed for decades. Also, bringing a water “flood” to the area that is still being used today by area oil producers. He is noted in The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, AR for bringing the first “horizontally drilled well” to the state. More than anything, Jay and his family were proud of his baptism into Christ well into his 70’s. He was a member of Walnut Church of Christ in Texarkana, Tx with his wife and daughter’s family.
A Celebration of Jay’s life will be held at a private graveside service at a later date. Mr. Wilson’s family would like to thank Dr. Susan Wong and Encompass Health - Hospice for their excellent care during his last days