1SG. Joseph E. Wilson, Sr., USA-Ret-Dec., 1925-2003, departed this world on March 11, 2003. He was born on April 23, 1925 in Milwaukee, WI to Augustus and Lula Wilson. At the age of nine, he lost his father to tuberculosis. His mother remarried John Bailey and took him to Gary, IN. He enlisted in the Army in April 1943 and went to Camp Wheeler, GA for basic training. His mother told him to be careful in the South. He remembers when a bus driver told him to go to the rear of the bus. His friends moved immediately but he stayed put. Nothing happened but his friends said that they would never go anywhere with him again. He transferred to the 686th Field Artillery Bn. and served in the Rhineland and Central European Campaigns. During the closing days of WWII he transferred to the 761st Tank Bn. for occupation duty. In the town of Siegsdorf he meet Maria, his future wife. During this period Germany was in turmoil, with hunger, disease, and social unrest at critical levels. He brought food, coffee, tobacco and household items to help her family. In April 1946 he rotated back to the States and then to Japan with the 24th Inf. Reg. (Buffalo Soldiers). In the Korean War he served with the 2nd Inf. Div. He was slightly wounded by shrapnel on September 18 and then seriously wounded by small arms fire on September 26, 1950. He spent the next few years in the Army Hospital at Camp Atterbury, IN. Here he completed his degree requirements and graduated from Gladstone University in Chicago with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1952. In 1954 he returned to Germany and married Maria. They had their first child together in October 1955 – Joseph Jr. They had their second child – Tamara in 1963. In 1970 he retired after 27 & ½-years in the Army. He bought a house in Neptune, NJ and worked at Carteret Steel, Pathmark, and A&P before retiring in 1989. He was a member of Saint Peter Claver Catholic Church and the Long Branch Chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
In 1999 he was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer. He fought this disease for three and a half years. He is preceded in death by his wife of 48 years Maria, son Alexander Augustus, and great-granddaughter Evelina Wilson. He is also preceded in death by his brother William “Dolittle” Bailey, and two sisters, Mary Davis and Barbara Jean Root. He is survived by a son, Joe Wilson, Jr. of Washington, DC and daughter Tammy Seidle of Neptune, NJ; a stepson Heinz Osterholzer of Perrysburg, OH and two stepdaughters Silvia Dailey of Neptune, NJ and Eva Lutzenburger of Munich, Germany; a bother John “Sonny” Bailey of Gary, IN; three sisters, Dorothy Rogers of Los Angeles, CA, Elizabeth Collins and Sarah Bailey both of Gary, IN; Eleven grandchildren, Tiffany, Joseph III (Joey), Stephany, Kirsten, Kelsey, Erika, Philip, John, Christopher, Monica, Dorothy, and Maria; four great grandchildren, I’Briana, Faheem, Joseph IV (“Jo-Jo”), and Justin.
Information and photo provided by Joe Wilson, Jr.
See also 9th Infantry Regiment, Korean War