Jane C. Wilson
Jane Clark Wilson, born in Meehan Junction, Mississippi on January 3, 1921, died peacefully on June 22, 2014, in the home of her daughter and son-in-law with whom she had been living for several years. She grew up in Pearson, outside of Jackson, Mississippi. Her father, Thomas Franklin Clark, a veteran of World War I, and her mother, Grady Camp Clark, predeceased her. Mrs. Wilson graduated from Central High School in Jackson, Mississippi in 1938 and from Millsaps College in 1942. She met her future husband, Louis Hugh Wilson, as he was working on the construction of a road between her home in Pearson and his home in Brandon, Mississippi when she was a senior in high school. They married in November of 1944 after he returned from Marine Corps military service in the Pacific in World War II, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on Guam. Mrs. Wilson served as a dedicated Marine Corps wife to her husband for his entire military career of almost 40 years. As the First Lady of the Marine Corps from 1975-1979 when General Wilson was Commandant, she was the hostess to countless functions at the Home of the Commandants in Washington, D.C. for individuals including Presidents and First Ladies, and foreign military and political leaders, including HRH Prince Philip, all of whom fell under the spell of her Southern charm. She traveled extensively to Marine Corps bases throughout the nation and world and was influential in the promotion of child daycare centers on those bases, one of the first steps toward a more "family focused" Marine Corps. Mrs. Wilson was chosen to serve as the sponsor of the USS Nassau and in that capacity christened the ship when construction was completed in 1979.
In retirement, Mrs. Wilson was able to pursue her hobby of Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, and began her new role as Tutu, which is Hawaiian for "Grandmother." She and General Wilson moved from San Marino, CA to Homewood, Alabama to be near their only child, Janet Taylor, who resides in Vestavia Hills with her husband Jarry. As General Wilson's health declined, Mrs. Wilson served as his loving caregiver until his death and burial in Arlington National Cemetery in 2005. Mrs. Wilson enjoyed gardening at her retirement home, and following the lives of her two grandsons--Jarred, now a lawyer in Palo Alto, California, and married to Claire Carlson Taylor, a nurse; and Wilson, a Lieutenant in the United States Navy in San Diego, married to Anna Chiles, a teacher.
Special thanks to her two long-time caretakers, Denorah Dozier and Tamica Edwards, angels sent into Tutu's life and to whom Janet and Jarry will be forever grateful. Also thanks to Comfort Care Hospice for their help during her last weeks. Until her final days, she recalled with great happiness her life growing up in rural Mississippi, as a Marine Corps wife, a mother, and grandmother. Those with whom she ever had any contact, from a head of State to a check-out clerk at the grocery store, came away happier than before, a gift we all should strive to achieve in our daily lives. She was dearly loved and will be sorely missed.
Mrs. Wilson will be buried with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery on a date yet to be determined, but a memorial service will be held in the Rutland-Memorial Chapel at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church on Friday, June 27, 2014, at 2 p.m., prior to which the family will greet guests in the church parlor beginning at 1 p.m. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations in Mrs. Wilson's memory be made either to the Marine Corps University Foundation, P.O. Box 122, Quantico, VA 22134 (http://www.mcuf.org
), or to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, Mountain Brook, AL 35223 (www.bbgardens.org
Published by Clarion Ledger on Jun. 26, 2014.