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Robert M. Wilson

Robert M. Wilson

Robert M. Wilson, developer, banker and aviation enthusiast, died on June 28, 2012. Wilson was born November 19th 1922 to Winston Peabody Wilson and Eunice Martin Wilson in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Wilson attended Little Rock public schools and graduated from Little Rock Senior High in 1940. He was a member of the Delta Sigma fraternity and was a soloist with the A Cappella Choir. Wilson was called to active duty and training in the fall of 1940 with the 154th Observation Squadron. After attending Louisiana State University for one year, he joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and received his wings as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served four years as a reconnaissance and mapping pilot in Brazil and Central America during the war. He was discharged in September of 1945 as a captain with senior pilot wings.

After the war, Wilson immediately enrolled in the University of Arkansas and joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. A member of the Student Senate and Blue Key Club and president of the Booster Club, Wilson orchestrated numerous school events including the direction of the half-time activities during the 1946 Cotton Bowl. Wilson completed his degree in industrial management in 1948, and, upon graduation, he founded the Wilson Company and became a Major in the Arkansas Air National Guard as a part-time Guardsman.

Throughout his life, Wilson played a significant role in Arkansas emerging real estate and banking markets. Working with Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Co., the Wilson Company developed seven major subdivisions in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. In addition to the Wilson Company, he formed TWC Mortgage Company, merging with Thom Godwin Wilson. Later the company acquired the Modern American Mortgage Company, which was sold to Union National Bank. In 1970 Wilson joined the Union National Bank as Senior Vice President where he was in charge of lending and mortgage operations. The Mortgage Company grew from less than two million in servicing to an excess of two billion during his tenure. He retired from Union National in 1998.

After retiring from the Union National Bank, he and George Pitts purchased Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan to create Central Bank and Trust which was sold to Arvest Bank in 2000. In 2002 he purchased a major interest in the First State Bank of Russellville.

Wilson also had a great passion for aviation and made major contributions to both military and commercial flight in Arkansas. In 1953 he became the first Base Commander of a newly formed 184th Reconnaissance Squadron that eventually became the 188th Wing. In 1956 he transferred to Headquarters as the State Operations Officer. During his military career he flew a variety of aircrafts: PT-19, P-51, B-25, P-80, and B-57. He retired in 1963 as a Lieutenant Colonel with Command Pilot Wings.

In the early 1970s he was appointed to the Little Rock Airport Commission and served 18 years as chairman. During that period the airport developed additional runways making possible the expansion of the next twenty years. In 2004, Wilson was inducted in the Aviation Hall of Fame for his contributions.

Wilson was also an active member in his community. He was a founding member of St. Marks Episcopal Church. Later, Wilson joined Trinity Cathedral and served on its vestry. He served on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America Quapaw, the Boys and Girls Club, the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, and the Mortgage Bankers Association of Arkansas. Wilson was also a member of the Little Rock Country Club, the Rotary Club, and the Old Goats, and was a 32nd Degree Mason.

Mr. Wilson is predeceased by his brother Major General Winston Wilson Jr., chief of the National Guard Bureau in Washington DC, his sister Jeanne Anthony, founder of the Anthony School, and his first wife Jan Herrick. Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife of twenty-two years Jane McGehee Wilson, sons Robert Wilson Jr. and Charles Wilson, grandchildren Robert Wilson III, Jillian Wilson and Helen Wilson, nieces Deann Newell and Andrea Romine, his step-relatives Jim, Scott, Lisa, Sam, Max, Sophie, Starke, Margie, Scotty, Milo, and Ely McGehee, his close business associate Janet Dillon, and his life-long housekeeper Dorothy Hickman.

Bob Wilson was widely known as a man with a zest for life, generosity of spirit, and profound integrity and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

A visitation will be held on Monday, July 2, 2012 from 5:00- 7:00 PM at Ruebel Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral with The Very Rev. Jonathon Jensen officiating.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Bob and Jane Wilson Nursing Scholarship Fund at UAMS or to Trinity Cathedral or the charity of choice. Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home,

Condolence Book

"I went by to see my dear friend, Bobby, at UAMS and at Hospice Home Care and I found out when I called my office today about his passing. I am presently in Naples, Florida and will be in touch with the family on my return. I will sorely miss my friend.

Allan E. Meadors"

Allan E. Meadors | Little Rock, AR, AR |

"I am sorry for your loss. I will miss seeing Bob at Rotary and at the Little Rock Club. He was always such an inspiration for all."
Wanda Hoover | Little Rock, AR |

"My thoughts are with your family!"
Laine Poe | Little Rock, AR |

"We will miss Bob Wilson. We will always remember him and the important role he played in our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. "
Pat & Cathy Flanagin | Little Rock, AR |

"Mr. Wilson was a dear friend. I enjoyed working with him on 145th Water and Sewer ID. There will never be another like him. Know he will be missed by all and that we are all better for knowing him."
Mary Roberts | Little Rock, AR |

Doreen Mattes | Little Rock, AR |

"My prayers are with you and your family."
Val Williams | Little Rock, AR |

"Ny condolrnces to the family. I became acquainted with Mr. Wilson when we sat in the 145th St. Water and Sewer board meetings with other board members. My prayers goes with each of you during your time of grief"
Savanah Hood | Little Rock, AR |

Pam Henline | Little Rock, AR |

"Please accept our deepest sympathy in your loss."
Ralph & Katy Cloar | Little Rock, AR |

"I enjoyed knowing Mr Wilson for many years in my dental practice. He was very proud of having his teeth. He always gave me &Drs Barton,Sessoms,and Mounts credit for that. Of course he had to do his part. He had an appt. with me the day after his stroke. I will truly miss him and our visits!"
Alice Roland RDH | Lonoke, AR |

"My condolences to the family. Mr. Wilson will be missed."
Dennis Cooper | Little Rock, Arkansas |

Chip & Cindy Murphy | Little Rock , AR |

"Mr. Bob now has a different type of wing. But, I know he will continue to fly with the other angles. Mr.Bob will be missed. "
Linda fketcher | Little rock, AR |

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I am sending our condolences on behalf of my Grandfather Sunny Knuckles. My grandfather retired from Wilsons & Associates many years ago and was very proud to have worked with Mr. Wilson aka BOB and has still to this day said it was the best job and friend he had ever had. He was a friend when most people needed a friend and will be truley missed.

Sunny Knuckles

John "Sunny" Knuckles | Lonoke, AR |

"Wec will all miss Bob's smiling face and positive attitude. My thoughts and sympathy go out to Jane.
Regards, Mac Lyons"

Mac Lyons | |

"Mr. Wilson has been an inspiration to me personally. I'm very proud to say he has left an indelible impression on me. My prayers go out to the entire Wilson family. God Bless!"
Johnny Weaver | Little Rock, AR |

"He will be missed by everyone that knew him."
Jordan Winter | Alexander, AR |

"Mr. Wilson was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed. I have many fond memories working for him at The Wilson Co. My heart goes out to all who loved him. He was one of kind and there will never be another person like him! "
Candy Roberts | Cabot , AR |

"Bob was always a spirited and warm presence at the Accademia dell'Arte and his quiet but persistent support was very appreciated. We will miss him for his keen smile and soft manner; his laid back humour and his incredible zest for life. We extend our warmest condolences to his family and in particular to Jane McGehee Wilson and Scott McGehee his stepson."
Kevin Crawford | Arezzo Italy |

"Dearest Jane and McGehee family, Bob was such a dear man and a delight to be able to get to know. I have incredible memories of my time with you both as he graciously drove us all thru Tuscany. What a prince of a man and what a glorious voice. My prayers to all of you."
Annelle Scott | Irvine, CA |

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of whom Mr.Wilson SR. has touched throughout his life, I am sorry for the sarrow that comes with saying goodbye. Just know that there is a place for all of us in Gods kingdom, where there is eternal life. God Bless!!"
Kathy Crutchfield | |

"Mr. Wilson was a wonderful and kind man and a joy to work with. I will miss him greatly. My prayers go out to the family."
Janet Van Skiver | Jacksonville, AR |

"My deepest sympathy to your family during "
Barbara Hooten | Little Rock, Arkansas |

"Jane, June and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. I will miss Bob at the Luncheon Table at Rotary. He always brought a big smile and wonderful conversation to the table. I go back a long way with his family. I knew his mother, sister Jeanne, brother Winston and nieces Andrea and Dee Ann. He will be sorely missed and may he now Rest in Eternal Peace! Bunny"
Dr. & Mrs. H. F. "Bunny" Brown, III | Little Rock, AR |

"Like so many others, Mr. Wilson has been an inspiration to me. His business acumen was second to none. Nevertheless, Mr. Wilson had such a genuine caring spirit. Whenever he spoke to me, he always asked after my family. In fact, he told me once, "I love your family." My fondest memory of Mr. Wilson was when he met Robby and I in Memphis early on a Saturday morning and joined us for the first weekend of our first Seaquest walk in 1998. Mr. Wilson was one of a kind. The world is a better world because of Bob Wilson; and each of us that knew him is a better person for it. May God bless you Jane, Robby, Booder and family and cover each of you with His love and peace."
Doc Hooten | Fort Walton Beach, FL |

"Jane, from what I have read about your husband, your life was made complete with all the good things that happened during the time that you shared together. Those are wonderful memories to cherish. "
Carolyn Kirk - Dr. Don Callan Staff | Little Rock, AR |

"Deepest sympathy to our friend Robby and the entire Wilson family."
Mary & Sam Daffin | Houston, TX |

"Charles "Buddah" Wilson and Family: May the Peace of Christ Be with you at this time of loss! Reg Rogers Catholic High Class of 1977 and Fellow band member."
Reginald Rogers | Little Rock, AR |

"A good man. "
Andy Byrd | |

"Oh, Robbie, Gary and I are so very sorry about your father. What a fine man he was. We were honored to have known him.


Gary and Terry"

Terry Barket | Little Rock, AR |

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