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Jack N. "Ja-Ja" Wilson, 89, of Pine Island, Fla., passed away Friday, March 4, 2011, at Brasstown Manor in Hiawassee, Ga., where he had lived the last few months, after a brave battle with COPD and pneumonia.
He was born Jan. 17, 1922. He grew up in Cape Girardeau and married the love of his life, Camille, before joining the U.S. Coast Guardduring World War II.
Upon returning from the war, he joined his oldest brother, Jim, in 1949 as a partner in Jim Wilson Co., a wholesale tire and auto parts store in Cape Girardeau, where he worked until he retired in 1981.
Jack's passion was fishing on Kentucky Lake, where he and Camille had a houseboat for many years and spent summers with lifelong friends. Many skiing lessons to teenagers and weekly fish fries after Jack's big catches will always be fond memories of all who were there.
Jack and Camille retired in 1981 and moved to Alden Pines Country Club on Pine Island where he was an avid golfer and member of the club 30 years, showing up before daylight to be the first off the tee for many years. He was a member of Pine Island United Methodist Church.
Jack was a quiet man of few words who made a strong impact on the lives of his grandchildren; a truly great teacher and influence on the lives of many who shared the joy in knowing him.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Bessie Hutson Wilson and Frank Wilson; his wife of 66 years, Camille; a brother, John, and an infant brother, Frank.
Jack is survived by a brother, Jim (wife Rosie) of Jackson; a sister, Katie Schwab of St. Louis; a daughter, Betsy Cress (husband Connie) of Fort Myers, Fla.; a granddaughter, Amy Camille Gessmann (husband Don) of Blairsville, Ga.; great-grandsons, Caleb Donald, Clayton Nicholas; and great-granddaughter, Kayla Camille.
A celebration of Jack's life will be held at Alden Pines Clubhouse at 4 p.m. April 9.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Regency Hospice, P.O. Box 494, Hiawassee, GA 30546, in memory of Jack.
Cochran Funeral Home of Blairsville was in charge of arrangements.
Please send condolences to the family at www.cochranfuneralhomes.com.