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Elizabeth WILSON

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Family-Placed Death Notice

WILSON, Elizabeth 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.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 29, 2012
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