Kenneth Duane Wilson was born February 13, 1934, in McCamey, Texas, Upton County, an oil boom town. He went to be with the Lord on March 16, 2017 in his home overlooking Clear Lake in Seabrook, Texas. His wife, Patti, was at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, Luther George and Minnie Lee Wilson. Two of his children, Mark Wilson and Brenda Timms also preceded him in death.
He is survived by his loving wife, Patti; a daughter, Sherry Cross and her husband, Garland Cross; stepchildren, Kelli Cook and Dub Cook; brother, Lee Wilson and his wife, Maggie Wilson; a brother, Boyd Wilson. The grandchildren are Ray Lee Wilson, Michelle DeBord, Victor Cross, Ashley Lanier, Dana Timms, Lynzi Street, Logan Cook, and Hunter Cook. He is also survived by two nieces, Tami Hunt and Memrie Kelly, and 11 great grandchildren.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and sports when he was growing up. His dad would take him fishing and camping on the Devils River and Concho River. His family lived in two different Humble Pipeline residential camps.
During 1950’s, Ken when “Rock & Roll” music was exploding, Teenager Ken discovered his love for just the opposite – traditional folk and country music songs “because they were sung so purely and peacefully.” He would say “they describe the ordinariness of straight and honest expression of life’s struggles and rewards.” He tried to express his music passion with instruments – only to find that “music notes” apparently were lost from the Wilson DNA. He would say, “some of us are made to listen while others to sing and play.” In later years, he still appreciated Woody Guthrie’s “Get Along Little Dogies.” His love for a simpler life never left: he would not let a year pass without watching “Lonesome Dove” especially, and some of the other early American stories and traditions.
Ken’s high school life was clearly the script template for a TV character “Fonz” in the TV Series, “HAPPY DAYS”). Seemingly without much effort, Ken was a “Straight A” student at Lake View High School and earned the Balfour Award for Academic achievement. At a school where football games were rarely won, Ken played football linebacker and center and was awarded “Best District Linebacker.” His teachers held him in high esteem and so did some of the students. Ken proudly kept his 1929 Buick Roadster and later 1938 Chevy Sport Coupe impeccably clean — and expected the same of riders. He loved the world of hoop skirts and penny loafers. His younger brother often complained that at his High School Reunion, girls never ask me about my life. They want to know all about Ken – where he lives, works and plays.
He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science of Mechanical Engineering while supporting his family. When he retired from the oil and gas industry, he often laughed that he tried to be an engineer for 50 years. He was a brilliant man and he was highly sought after by others about engineering issues.
Being an entrepreneur, he had an early television repair business, an engineering firm, and Boat City Storage (still active).
Ken and his wife, Patti, enjoyed 29 years of love and adventures. They often would say they were each other’s soul mate and best friend.
A phrase he heard that whoever had the most toys when he dies, wins. Well, Ken won. His passion for fishing from the West Texas rivers and lakes to the Gulf of Mexico brought him so much pleasure. He bought several boats. He named most of them “Mercy”. If he was troubled, he often said, “Mercy, mercy, mercy”. Years ago, he and the tournament crew won a Galveston fishing tournament for the largest marlin. When he finally sold his 28’ Bertram, named “Mercy’, he bought a ranch near Gonzales, Texas. Deer and turkey hunting became his passion. Ken enjoyed being a gunsmith. He learned to fly an airplane solo and to own and ride several different motorcycles. Football was his favorite sport. He liked new challenges.
Ken had true grit when fighting several cancers and heart disease. He never gave up fighting until the very end. Earlier in his life, he experienced many troubling times, but his willingness to overcome them transformed him into an even better soul. Ken was loved and inspired many people. He was a kind man with a strong personality. His wife, Patti, often said he was like a cactus. He had some stickers on him but his cactus flower was so beautiful and sweet. He will be missed in a big way. He was bigger than life.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for March 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm at Crowder’s Funeral Home at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd., Webster, Texas 77598, with a reception to follow. Bill Whitworth will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Ken’s life.