James William Wilson

Obituary for James William Wilson

May 22, 1940 - May 9, 2018
Mosquitoville, Vermont | Age 77

Obituary

James William Wilson
May 22, 1940- May 9, 2018

The birds have vanished into the sky
And now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains. - Li Po

James William Wilson took his final howl at the moon on May 9, 2018, in Rockville, Maryland, while surrounded by his children, Nicole Wilson Rubin and Damon MacAllister Wilson. A lifelong lover of nature, opera, Latin and Greek, all forms of artistic culture, chopping wood, and his native Vermont, Jim died peacefully after a long decline in his health. He was just shy of his 78th birthday.

Born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, on May 22, 1940, Jim was the second of four children. His father, the Reverend J. Paul Wilson, was a Covenanter minister and his mother, Margaret Evaline Park Wilson, was a beloved schoolteacher. His parents were also missionaries in Cyprus. At the age of 2, his family moved to Youngstown, Ohio, and then in 1952, they moved back to Mosquitoville, Vermont, where his father was a pastor at the Reformed Presbyterian Society of the Walter Harvey Meeting House. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont became forever what he would consider home and he loved the family farm in West Barnet that he owned with his sister, Lauren Gibson.

He graduated high school in 1958 from Peacham Academy in Vermont, where he was a standout baseball pitcher and guard on a basketball team that was state runner-up in their division. Jim studied Classics and ran cross country at Geneva College (Class of 1962) in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He received a master's degree in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and pursued further graduate studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While in school at UNC, he spent the summer of 1964 in England working on an archeological excavation at Winchester Cathedral.

Jim taught Latin and Greek at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; the College of Charleston in South Carolina; Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina; Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina; and later substitute taught at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont. While living in North Carolina, he served as a deacon at Buies Creek Memorial Baptist Church. After retiring, he served two tours of duty as a "senior member" in the Peace Corps in Namibia from 1998-2000 and then in Ukraine from 2005-2006. He later returned to Nemyriv, Ukraine several times to visit close friends. He also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Cobleigh Public Library bookmobile in Lyndonville, Vermont. He was a regular attendee at the St. Johnsbury Farmer's Market and The Met: Live in HD at Catamount Arts.

He moved off the family farm to Washington, DC, in the fall of 2014 when his health started declining to be close to his son, Damon, who cared for him in his final years. He took advantage of the rich culture of DC while he could and cherished his time with Damon and his friends who showed him tremendous love and support.

Jim is survived by his sister Phyllis Wilson of Denver, Colorado; his sister Lauren Gibson of West Barnet, Vermont, and her family in Texas and New York; and his brother John Wilson and his family in Toronto, Canada. He is also survived by his daughter Nicole Rubin of Portola Valley, California, her husband Amir Dan Rubin and two children, Naomi Carolina Rubin and Benjamin Drake Rubin; and his son Damon MacAllister Wilson and his husband David Ryan Van Lear in Washington, DC.

A memorial service will be held at the Reformed Presbyterian Society of the Walter Harvey Meeting House in Vermont on Saturday, August 18. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Catamount Arts, the Cobleigh Library's Bookmobile, or Peacham Academy. He would also be happy to know you remembered him by going out and "getting some culture," taking a peaceful if energetic hike, or listening to some of his favorite music such as Sibelius' Finlandia, ABBA, Simon and Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Bizet's Carmen or Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Cobleigh Public Library
In the memo, indicate in memory of Jim Wilson for the Bookmobile
Mail checks to:
14 Depot St.
P.O. Box 147
Lyndonville, VT 05851

Catamount Arts
Contribute online: https://tickets.catamountarts.org/Public/donations
Or mail checks to:
P.O. Box 324
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 
In the memo, indicate in memory of Jim Wilson

Peacham Academy Alumni Association
Mail checks to:
Bev Terrill
230 Sunset Drive
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
In the memo, indicate in memory of Jim Wilson

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Cobleigh Public Library in support of the bookmobile program, where Jim worked as an Americorps volunteer. In the memo, indicate in memory of Jim Wilson for the Bookmobile.
  • Cobleigh Public Library - Bookmobile
    14 Depot Street
    PO Box 147
    Lyndonville, VT 05851
  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to one of Jim's favorite local Vermont charities, Catamount Arts. Please indicate your gift is in memory of James Wilson in the memo line.
  • Catamount Arts
    P.O. Box 324
    St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
  • In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Peacham Academy Alumni Association. In the memo line, indicate in memory of Jim Wilson.
  • Peacham Academy Alumni Association
    230 Sunset Drive
    c/o Bev Terrill
    St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Jim Wilson by adding your memories and photos.