Fred Amos Wilson, 96, patent engineer who retired at 82

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Fred A. Wilson
Fred A. Wilson

Fred Amos Wilson, 96, died on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, at the Hospice House in Williamsburg, Va., after a brief illness.

Fred was born Nov. 3, 1920, at his parents’ farm home near Barnhill, Ill., the second of four sons of Asa C. Wilson and Myrtle Davis Wilson: namely, Davis, Fred, James and Dale. The boys all grew up on their parents’ farm near Barnhill and attended the one-room Barnhill elementary school.

Fred graduated from Fairfield Community High School in 1938, where he received the Rotary Club Award honoring the most outstanding boy in the senior class. He then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana, Ill., where he graduated in 1943 with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. During a time from 1940 to 1941, he had worked at the Chefford Mastor Mfg. Co. (later Airtex Inc.) in Fairfield, Ill., and played French horn in the Fairfield City Band.

While attending University of Illinois, Fred met Lelia Hollandsworth, a home economics student from Canton, Ill. After graduation in 1943, Fred began working as a product development engineer for Linde Air Products Co. in Tonawanda near Buffalo, N.Y. Lelia and Fred were later married in Champaign, Ill., in 1945, and together they had three sons, Douglas, 1946; Edward, 1947; and Richard, 1952. Fred later became a licensed professional engineer (No. 29974) in New York State and patent engineer for Linde.

After their three sons each graduated from their respective colleges, Fred and Lelia made trips to various parts of Europe and Africa in 1975 and also in 1978.

After working for Linde Air Products Co. for 28 years, Fred changed jobs in 1971 and they moved to Trenton, N.J., where he worked for Hydrocarbon Research Inc. as a registered patent agent (No. 27019). They lived in Pennington, N.J., where Fred sang tenor in the church choir, and Lelia became a church school superintendent and a lay speaker at the United Methodist Church. Lelia died in 1990 at age 67 from lymphoma. Fred continued doing patent work for various clients until he retired in 2002 at age 82.

During 2004, Fred moved from Pennington to Williamsburg, Va., where his second son, Edward, and his wife, Angela, were living. Fred also joined the Williamsburg United Methodist Church in 2005 and sang tenor in their choir for 10 years. While in Williamsburg, he became a member of the historical society Sons of The American Revolution (SAR No. 167,830) in 2006. Later in 2008, Fred moved into the WindsorMeade Retirement Home, where he enjoyed living until he died.

Fred enjoyed being involved with his three sons in their various school activities including Boy Scouts, football games and musical concerts. He enjoyed cars, music, history, financial markets, politics and traveling. He also enjoyed returning many times to his high school reunions held in Fairfield, Ill.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Davis, James and Dale.

He is survived by his three sons, Douglas (Nancy), a retired United Methodist minister living in Silver Lake, N.Y., Edward (Angela), a retired medical internist living in Williamsburg, and Richard (Cathy), a medical doctor living in New Lenox, Ill.; sister-in-law, Betty Wilson living in Milwaukee, Wis.; two grandsons, Jefferson (Monica) and Jonathan (Stacie); step-granddaughter, Katlyn (Dustin) Summers; seven great-grandchildren; nephew, Robert L. Wilson living in Memphis, Tenn.; a niece, Twyla Wilson living in Fairfield, Ill; and other family and many friends and acquaintances.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Williamsburg United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, WindsorMeade Samaritan Fund or Hospice House of Williamsburg. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.nelsencares.com.