m. 23 Feb 1896
Facts and Events
If one child got into trouble, the other was always there to back him up! When one of the Stone children had caused trouble and their mother couldn't determine who was responsible, she would line all five children up in a row in front of her. If nobody confessed, then she would wind up her black snake whip and whip them all across the back of the legs. The kids soon learned that if they jumped the instant before impact, they could avoid the blow. All of the kids did this except Theora, who was slower and ended up getting the brunt of the whipping.
In high school, both Wilson and Walt worked as lifeguards at the Natatorium in Boise, Idaho. They were both very athletic. Wilson earned letters in baseball and basketball, and he also participated in dramatics. He graduated from Boise High School in 1928.
After graduating high school, Wilson attended Linfield Jr. College in McMinnville, Oregon. He then transferred to San Bernardino Junior College and received a Junior degree in 1931.
He followed this with a bachelor's degree in education from U.C.L.A. in 1937. His major was physical education, and he minored in history and economics. His grades were less than stellar, earning mostly C's with some B's and one or two A's. His teachers would have been surprised that Wilson would go on to earn a PhD in Education and dedicate his career to helping others learn.
In September 1942 his life was turned upside down when he was inducted into the army. His basic training took place at Camp Walters, Texas. Afterward, he was relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served in the Adjutant General's Office during World War II. His brother Walt, meanwhile, had joined the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific islands.
In 1946, Wilson's wife had a baby girl at Fort Benning. He was honorably discharged in August 1946, and he immediately returned to U.C.L.A. for a masters degree. Again, he majored in physical education, but this time his minor was in guidance. His Master's thesis was, "The Recreational Needs of Grammar School Boys in the West Los Angeles Area."
After graduating with his master's degree, Wilson obtained a job teaching at Upland Junior High School in Upland, California. He worked there for 4 years.
Capetown, South Africa
With a bit of wanderlust and a desire to see more of the world, Wilson decided to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Capetown, South Africa in 1951. He was still in the military, and with the U.S. becoming embroiled in the Korean Conflict, he might have decided it was a good time to further his education and get out of the country. His military service helped pay for some of the costs of his education. Winifred had received a chunk of money when her ex-husband Clement divorced her, and they used that money to sail to South Africa. They sailed aboard the ship "Africa" to South Africa. Their very young daughter Stephany recalls seeing the movie "The Wizard of Oz" on a big screen on board the ship, and the flying monkeys particularly terrified her. Stephany was only about 5 years old when they went to South Africa, and she attended grammar school there and learned to speak Afrikaans fluently.
At the completion of his doctoral work, the family drove their little Renault north up on a family "safari", visiting Kruger National Park, and other areas on their way up to Johannesburg. Wilson became famous (or infamous) for his "short-cuts" which repeatedly got the little group into unwanted adventures. One such shortcut forded a small river and
Winifred was thrilled to be able to book their return trip on the "Lloyd Triestino" via Italy and England. She enjoyed seeing visiting more foreign countries, and it cost less money than a direct route. The cost was 237 South African pounds for the 3 of them.
Back in the U.S.A.
In 1960 Wilson was able to fulfill a lifetime dream, that of working in a University setting. He was hired by Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois to develop and start up a new "Reading Department" for the University. In later years the department was broadened to encompass "Reading and Special Education". He also served as president of the Illinois Reading Association. As a longtime horse-lover,(the family raised and showed Arabian horses), he served as President of the Illinois Arabian Horse Association. He served as Chairperson of the WIU Reading and Special Education Department until his retirement. He was a well-loved and respected professor, and received dozens of congratulatory and thank-you notes upon his retirement.
Bits and Pieces
Wilson was a speed reader and his son-in-law recalled one time where Wilson took a small book into the bathroom with him (about 100 pages.) Upon coming out of the bathroom, they asked Wilson if he'd like to take the book home with him to finish it. He replied that he already had, but the son-in-law didn't believe him. They quizzed him by opening the book and asking questions from various pages, and sure enough, he had read the entire book in about 5 minutes!
He loved sports, and his granddaughter remembers him sitting in front of the T.V. watching football (or any other sports he could find.) He lost his hearing, and had to wear hearing aids, but learned to read lips. He enjoyed being able to "see" what the coaches on TV were saying to their teams because he could read their lips. His granddaughter was disappointed that because of his hearing aids, he was no longer able to swim and couldn't teach her how to swim, especially when they lived in a townhome in Georgetown which had a community swimming pool.
He gained a lot of weight as he got older, no doubt because his job kept him away from the sports he used to love participating in (but continued to watch.) We never saw him move faster, however, than when his young granddaughter accidentally sledded into a small creek at their farm at Christmastime. He was out the door and down to the creek in a flash, before his granddaughter even realized what happened.
He also loved to smoke a pipe. His granddaughter recalled that he always smelled like Absorbine Jr. and the wonderful sweet smell of tobacco.
Every summer, Wilson and Winifred would take one of his two Macomb grandchildren on vacation, alternating between years. His granddaughter remembers them taking her brother to Six Flags one year, and her to San Diego to visit her aunt and uncle another year. She also remembers one year where they all were going to go to Yellowstone, but she and her brother were arguing and the grandparents said if we didn't stop arguing, they weren't going to go. They didn't even make it out of town-- and that's probably why they started alternating years.