Longtime Nevada County resident and community leader James Woodrow Wilson, Lt. Col. USMC, ended a life well lived and took his final rest on Monday evening, Dec. 2, 2013.
Known simply as “Jim” or “Grampa” to his family and many friends in the Higgins Corner and Lake of the Pines area, Jim lived a very fruitful life of 90 years.
Serving his country from 1940 to 1973 in the United States Marine Corps, Jim rose through the ranks from private to lieutenant colonel and achieved the rare distinction of being a combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
He received many medals for valor and service, including the distinguished Legion of Merit.
Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 in the chapel at the Sierra Memorial Lawn Cemetery on Gold Flat Road in Grass Valley, with graveside services to follow immediately after.
Friends and family members are invited to a potluck reception in Jim’s honor at the Higgins Lions Community Center on Magnolia Road at approximately 3:30 p.m., following the services in Grass Valley. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
Through most of his life, Jim Wilson was more of a family man than he was a Marine. Born in Tennessee on July 31, 1923, and raised in Alabama, Jim married the love of his life, Edna Jackson in 1942, when they were both 18.
They had grown up together since sharing school books in the second grade. Jim and Edna went on to raise four children of their own, John, Jody, Woody and Lynn, and shared their lives for 55 years until Edna’s passing in 1997.
They lived many places, but they adopted California as home. Jim and Edna moved from Barstow to Nevada County in 1977 and proceeded to build a home from scratch on 10 acres off Magnolia Road.
In the following years, they both were active volunteers and leaders in community organizations including the Higgins Fire Auxiliary, Higgins Diggins Lions Club and Sierra Hills Road Association.
Jim’s proudest achievement in those years was leading the charge to form the Higgins Lions Community Association and building a community center to serve the South County area. Many weddings, memorials and other celebrations have been held there since 1993.
Jim is survived by Jody (Russ), Woody (Phyllis); seven grandchildren Krysten (Dustin), Branden (Bethany), Aaron, Rhyann, Heather (John), Jackson (Nicole) and Joseph.
Jim and Edna also had eight great-grandchildren: Mason, Chloe, Autumn, Brody, Dorian, Colin, Luke and Francesca.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, friends who wish to remember Jim do so with a donation to the Northern California Lions Sight Association in his memory.