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Charles E. "Gene" Wilson

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Charles E. "Gene" Wilson Obituary
Gene Wilson, Environmentalist, of West Chester Charles E. "Gene" Wilson, 89, a well-known environmental activist in Chester County with a multi-faceted career, died of cancer October 26, 2011, in West Chester. For over 30 years, Mr. Wilson served in a leadership role with numerous civic groups working on environmental issues. In April 2010, 4CP (Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection) established an annual award in Mr. Wilson's name. Mr. Wilson received the first such award, along with citations from Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Mr. Wilson was born in Pueblo, Colorado. After graduating with honors in chemical engineering from the University of Denver in 1943, he served 2 years in the U.S. Navy before taking a job with DuPont. There he met his wife June, whom he married in 1949. They remained married for 55 years until her death in 2004. In 1960, Mr. Wilson, his wife and their four children moved to Chester County. He was a member of the vestry of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and principal of its Sunday school. He was also the local chairman of the American Cancer Society. In 1969, he and his family began a six-year stint in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was head of marketing for DuPont's international Freon business. About the time they returned to the U.S., scientists were exploring potential dangers of useful chemicals like Freon to the earth's ozone layer. As Mr. Wilson later put it, this opened his eyes to "The Law of Unintended Consequences," and inspired him to become involved with environmental causes. In the 1980s he retired from DuPont to start an independent consulting firm, focused on improving the listening skills of salespeople, teachers and others. He was an active member of the International Listening Association. When the co-founders of his firm passed away, he closed the business and devoted himself full-time to environmental volunteer activities. He was on the board of the Brandywine Valley Association, and chaired its energy committee. He served a similar role with the League of Women Voters and other groups. He testified in legislative hearings in Harrisburg, and contributed to passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, which requires utilities to purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources. Mr. Wilson is survived by his second wife, Katherine; his children, Charles, Richard, Laura, and Thomas; and five grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 12, at Main Line Unitarian Church, 816 S. Valley Forge Rd. in Devon. Burial is private. Memorial donations may be made to PennFuture, 610 N. Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-1113 (http://www.pennfuture.org/donation_gp.aspx) Online condolences may be made to www. foundsfuneralhome.com.

Published in The Daily Local on Nov. 10, 2011
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