Joseph Henry Wilson, Jr., florist, landscaper, social entertainer, father, grandfather, frequent traveler and a friend to many died unexpectedly on Tuesday, the 19th of November 2013.|
Born in Houston on the 7th of December 1926 to Emma and Joseph, Joe became the younger brother of Robert (deceased) and his sister Ellen. Joe graduated from Jefferson Davis High School and served in the Navy during WWII. In the Pacific he defended his ship and volunteered to work in the officer's mess as a baker and cook. This, so he could shower each day, a perk his shipmates envied. Joe's culinary talents soon surfaced as he took it upon himself to supplement the daily salad bowl with exotic flower petals from the Pacific islands to bring color to the table. While based at Pearl Harbor, Joe studied at the University of Hawaii and later graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Art.
Joe's interests were wide and varied. After returning from the War, he worked as an accountant at Stanley Home Products, National Steel and the James Bute Company. It was only after joining his sister Ellen at Webwood Flowers that he realized his calling as a designer. He soon became owner of Webwood Flowers & Gifts and under his creative genius it quickly grew to become one of Houston's premier flower shops. Joe's "unusual as usual" approach to decorating and floral design were seen at the best parties in River Oaks, at weddings throughout the city, the Pin Oaks Charity Horse Show, high-profile conventions and any number of banks and office buildings during the holiday season. He thrived on the creative process and loved his role of delivering the majesty of a uniquely arranged flower arrangement to his customers.
Joe married Mary Beth Kelley (deceased) of Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1951 and had two sons, Michael and Steven. He later married Fernande Rozotte (deceased) of Paris, France. Joe's gift to his children was unconditional love, a zest for life and delight in exploration. His grandchildren Patrick (deceased), Stephanie, Amanda, Ben and Emma thrilled him at every turn and caused him to remain young at heart. Joe, after all, was always a kid at heart. To his family and close friends he was "Poppy Ho", a nickname he happily accepted when given to him by his first granddaughter.
Joe thrived on throwing dinner parties and with his companion Van Phan, hosted two to three events each week until his later years in life. He enjoyed cooking, baking and a good meal. Joe rarely found a cookie or bowl of peach ice cream he did not like. Christmas was his favorite time of year and he made it special for all. Joe traveled throughout North America, Europe, Mexico and Asia. He almost made it to all 50 states. He treasured his animals, a good movie, Broadway shows, Sunday drives in the country and music. He loved his family, all of them.
Joe lived a long and fulfilling life as he often said. He was taken too early but wherever he may be today, a friend has been found, an azalea has been planted, a flowerbed groomed and a bouquet of fresh cut flowers brightens his surroundings.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from four o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Sunday, the 24th of November, in the drawing room of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The funeral service is to be conducted at half-past eleven o'clock in the morning on Monday, the 25th of November, in the Chapel of Angels at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale Street in Houston.
The interment is to follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Nov. 24, 2013