William Franklin Wilson, of DeSoto, KS, and formerly of Pittsburg, passed away on June 9, 2023 in Overland Park at the age of 99.
Bill was born to Walter and Grace (Gilstrap) on August 23, 1923 on his grandparents' farm near Neosho, Missouri. He grew up in Galena, KS and graduated from Galena High School. Bill married Norma Faith Evans of Pittsburg on May 30, 1948. They were married for 68 years until Norma's passing in 2016.
Bill was raised in the Christian Church and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, KS. Faith was a pillar of Bill's life, and he carried it with him when he enlisted in the United States Army and fought during WWII in Europe. He served in the 12th Corps, 273rd Artillery Battalion as part of the Battle of Bulge that was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Germany. When he returned home, he used the GI Bill to complete his college education at Kansas State Teachers College, now Pittsburg State. His first teaching job was in Rolla, KS as a social studies teacher and football coach. Later, he completed a degree in school administration from Wyoming and served as principal in the school districts of Oxford, Hill City, Leoti, Scott City, Atchison, and as superintendent of Troy and Ellinwood. He retired in 1987 as superintendent of Ellinwood Public Schools.
As a former coach and football official, sports played an important part of Bill's life. He grew up playing baseball on the small diamonds of Galena and loved watching his beloved Kansas City Royals. Although baseball was his favorite sport, he enjoyed watching Chiefs football and KU basketball. He and Norma competed on bowling teams early in life, and they played golf for many years together. They also enjoyed attending sporting events for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Throughout his life, Bill volunteered in many local organizations, such as Pittsburg Lions Club, and served as SW District Governor in 1986 as a member of Ellinwood Lions Club. He was a member for 77 years of the Masonic Lodge of Galena, KS. Lodge #194 A.F. & A.M. While living in Pittsburg, Bill delivered Meals On Wheels, volunteered at the Doggy Bag supporting the SEK Humane Society, and was a member of the PSU Alumni Association.
Preceded in death were his parents and sisters; Reatha Wilson, Velma Wilson, Vivian Bryant, Ella June VanHorn, and Wanda Page; daughter Rebeca Maglauglin.
Bill is survived by his sons Willam Wilson, Jr. and Susan of Topeka, Tom and Virginia Wilson of Baldwin City, and Kristin Wilson of Gardner; grandchildren, Jennifer (Richard)Toland, Jeffrey (Cassandra) Wilson, John Wilson (Jami Jones), Evan Wilson, Amelia Wilson, Tayler (Don) Thiel, Veronica (JR) Thomas, Sara (James) Frieman, Benjamin (Carmen) Maglaughlin; great-grandchildren Anastasia (Conrad) Baker; Gillian (Zach) Hadenfeldt, Matthew Toland, Connor and Colbie Wilson, Parker and Henry Wilson; David, Jessica, and Jacob Thiel, Hayden Thomas, Broc Wilson, Camryn Maglaughlin, Colton, Peyton, and Bella Maglaughlin; great-great-grandchildren, Jackson and Eleanor Baker.
A private family graveside service will be held at Garden of Memories in Pittsburg on June 24, 2023. A Celebration of Life program will be at 1:30 at the First Baptist Church, 209 W. 7th St. Pittsburg. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been dedicated to the following organizations: Kansas Lion Foundation, c/o Dan Funke, 9 Aargon, Goddard, KS 67052 Meals on Wheels, c/o Ascension Via Christi Hospital, 1 Mt. Carmel Way, Pittsburg, KS 66762, Wounded Warriors https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org. Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg, KS.