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WING--John Brian.

On July 6, 2015, John Brian Wing passed away of natural causes at his home in The Woodlands, Texas. He was 68 years old. John was born in the town of Potsdam, New York on July 20, 1946 and was the son of the late Martha Virta and Ivan Frank Wing. His siblings Steve and Christine Wing survive John. John is also survived by his daughter Christina Wing O'Donnell, her husband Tad O'Donnell and their three children: Jack, Julia and Blake; his son Brian Wing, his wife Shannon Wing and their three sons: Patrick, Henry and Charlie; Karen Milanese Wing, mother of Christina and Brian, and many Wing, Milanese and O'Donnell relatives. John is also survived by many friends that he considered brothers and sisters including his beloved Veterans. John grew up on a farm in Norfolk, New York, a natural athlete with a love for baseball, hockey, skiing, golf and fishing. He took great delight in teaching these sports to his grandchildren, who called him Papa. Papa was truly one of a kind and made each grandchild feel special, they were the apple of his eye. He wanted them to make their own path but be aware of the hard work and sacrifice that it takes to succeed. He treated them as friends and they will forever miss his Papa hugs and great Papa stories. John attended Norfolk High School where his mother, an English teacher, nurtured his core skills in math and English. John's communication and numbers acumen were key elements of his academic and entrepreneurial success. He cherished his ties to Norfolk and supported many of its charitable organizations. John loved returning to his hometown and provided scholarships for the local children. John attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1968. He was a member of the varsity hockey team. His active duty service was in The United States, Germany and the Republic of Vietnam from 1968 through 1973. His principal duties were as a pilot and aviation commander. He was recalled to active duty in 1982 for classified operations in Central America. Throughout his life, he valued individuals who attended West Point and served in the military, as he respected their character and leadership. Many of his closest friends were fellow West Point graduates. In his business endeavors, individuals with military backgrounds filled key positions. John received an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1980 and graduated with high distinction as a Baker Scholar. John formed another group of lifelong friends from business school. He was an investor and director with Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company. In addition, John was involved with several corporations with his Harvard classmates related to international infrastructure, domestic oil and gas investments, and the alternative asset industry. After graduation, John worked for General Electric and was the principal architect for Enron's power development business. He is recognized as a leader of the independent power industry. John was the chairman and founder of the Wing Group and led the development of multi-billion dollar power projects worldwide. These projects include the Teesside project in England and the first privatized power project in the Middle East. He was also a pioneer of China's independent power industry. In addition to John's business endeavors, he was passionate about democracy and civil rights. John worked closely with Representative Charlie Wilson on global issues and they were a dynamic force in Afghanistan as well as other regions. After selling the Wing Group, John founded Wing Aviation with his son Brian. Wing Aviation, a full service aviation company serving the corporate and commercial market, was a source of great pride. His love of aviation lasted his lifetime. He encouraged new pilots and served as a director and Vice Chairman of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. John was passionate about his country, family and community. He mentored many people with the message of positive social and economic impact. John expected his mentees to demonstrate good judgment, community involvement, philanthropy and love of country. He lived the motto, "pay it forward" and encouraged others to as well. John founded Operation Grateful Nation, which raised and donated money for Veterans, and most importantly provided mentoring and compassion to our warriors. John will be deeply missed by his family and friends. He was a positive force to all. John was an excellent son, brother, father, Papa, friend and Patriot. He was one of a kind. Duty. Honor. Country. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Operation Grateful Nation. Operation Grateful Nation, P.O. Box 132858, The Woodlands, Texas 77393. A private celebration of his life was held on July 10th for family and friends. John will be laid to rest at West Point.

Published in The New York Times on July 19, 2015
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