Joe Wilson

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Joe Howard Wilson, 86, died on October 17, 2013 at his home in Las Cruces, NM. He was born July 11, 1927, in Nashville, TN. His parents were Walter Irvin Wilson and Mary Ethel Midkiff Wilson. His three brothers, Walter, Jr., Edwin, and Andy, preceded him in death. He attended Ysleta High School, El Paso Community College, UTEP, Texas A&M, the FBI Academy, and National Fire Academy, taking numerous courses in fire safety, prevention, investigation and law enforcement. Joe, along with many of his high school classmates, enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WWII in 1944. He was in the Philippine Liberation/Okinawa Invasion, and was honorably discharged in 1946. After his service in the Navy, he married Billie Jean McCool. They had four children, Cindy, Joe, Jr., Trudi, and David. In 1976, he married Mary Slaughter, who survives him. Joe was a great father to her three children, Carly, Sam, and Matt. There are 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He joined the El Paso Fire Department in 1950, and retired as Chief of the Department in 1988. A highlight during his tenure as Fire Chief was when the E.P.F.D. hosted over 100 metro fire chiefs from around the U.S. and Canada. Joe was active in numerous professional organizations. He was a charter member of the Industrial Safety Council and served as its president in 1975. He was on the Council of Safety Supervisors, and served as its Chairman, was a charter member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, a member of the National Fire Protection Association, and Fire Marshal's Association of North America. He was also a Certified Texas Peace Officer, a Certified Master Arson Investigator and a Certified Master Fire Inspector. Joe was involved in many civic organizations, including Toastmasters International as Area Governor, Sun Bowl Association President, El Paso Area Law Enforcement Group as Director and President, executive officer of the Amigo Squadron of the Confederate Air Force, and a member of the Civil Air Patrol. He was active in the El Paso Downtown Lions Club, serving in all offices including President in 1983. He was a charter member of the Amigo Airshow, a board member of the Salvation Army and Lighthouse for the Blind. He was a 32nd Degree KCCH Scottish Rite Mason and member of Masonic Lodge 130. He was an active member of Asbury United Methodist Church in El Paso, St. Paul's UMC in Las Cruces and Mesilla Park Community Church. Joe was an avid football fan, especially of the Dallas Cowboys. He was a long-time wood-worker who created numerous beautiful wood turnings and toys for his Church. Joe and Mary loved maintaining their home and yard. Joe was a fine automotive mechanic and home repairman who used his own hands to build his home in retirement. He cherished his roles as a father and a husband. Most of all, he loved serving Jesus Christ. A celebration of life will be on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM at Mesilla Park Community Church with Pastor Dennis Diaz officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 E. Montana, Las Cruces, NM, 88005, or the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, P.O. Box 19930, Dallas, TX, 75219-9300. Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home, corner of Solano and Bowman Ave. To sign our local on line guestbook, please log onto
Funeral Home
(575) 526-2419
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Dec. 4, 2013
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