Dr. Daniel J. Wilson died peacefully at home in Bethlehem, PA on Friday, June 11, 2021. He was born on December 19, 1949 in Wausau, Wisconsin, the son of Russell S. Wilson and Mary (Prucha) Wilson. He was the loving husband of Carol Shiner Wilson, whom he married in 1983. Dan had a rich and varied family history, which included a governor of Plymouth Colony, lumber barons, and college professors. Dan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater summa cum laude in 1972 with a B.A. in History and English. He earned an MA (1974) and Ph.D. (1976), Phi Beta Kappa, in American History at The Johns Hopkins University. Following graduate school, he taught at John Hopkins, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and worked at the Maryland Historical Society. In 1978 he joined the faculty of Muhlenberg College, where he taught until retiring as Professor of History in 2018. He taught primarily American Cultural History and History of Medicine and Public Health. He was the recipient of the College's two major teaching awards. He also took an active role in faculty governance. Because of his character, kindness, and quiet intellect, he was an inspiration to students and colleagues alike. Daniel was a distinguished scholar, publishing eight books and numerous scholarly articles and reviews. Much of his early work was in the history of American Philosophy. In mid-career he turned his attention to the history of medicine, especially the polio epidemics. He was a nationally respected expert on the history of polio epidemics and published three books on the history of polio in the U.S., including Living with Polio: The Epidemic and Its Survivors, inspired by his own experience of having had polio. He also published in the history of the American South and disability history. Most recently, he was consulted internationally on the Covid 19 pandemic in light of his scholarly work on polio epidemics. He was the recipient of National Endowment of the Humanities and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships. Dan was active in support of several non-profit organizations, including service as Board member and President of the Board of Post-Polio Health International. Locally, he served on the Board of the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, including two terms as President. He also served three terms on the Board of the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital. Dan enjoyed classical music and jazz, traveling (France and Shelburne Farms, VT were favorites) and fine dining with Carol, reading, and walking their dogs Abbey and Jasper. He particularly cherished time spent with his family and friends from Hopkins, Muhlenberg, and Allentown. A recent pleasure was the international Zoom with Hopkins colleagues, one of whom called Dan "the finest of us" and another a "hero", in part because of Dan's courage in facing with grace the relentless effects of post-polio syndrome.
He is survived by his loving wife Carol, his brother, Stewart (Melissa Barker), his brother-in-law Larry Shiner (Catherine Walters), sister-in-law Kay Klausmeier, and nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Marjorie.
A celebration of Dan's life will be held at Egner Chapel, Muhlenberg College, at a time to be announced. Arrangements entrusted to Bachman Kulik & Reinsmith Funeral Home, Allentown.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wilson Grant for Scholarly Projects at Muhlenberg College or to the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by Morning Call on Jun. 13, 2021.