January 22, 1932 to January 27, 2014. Johnny Wilson, a long-time resident of Smyrna and Atlanta, passed away following a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was the son of John Rhonwin Wilson and Clara Costen Wilson of Bay Minette, Alabama. Johnny was born in Red Level, Alabama and grew up in Bay Minette, where his leadership style and volunteer spirit were soon evident as president of the State Beta Club, Alabama representative in the American Legion Boys Nation, editor-in-chief of the Baldwin County High School yearbook, and as a student photographer for The Baldwin Times newspaper. During his first weeks at the University of Alabama he was elected vice-president of Rho Alpha Tau, a freshman honorary fraternity which recognized future campus leaders. He joined Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, served as Advertising and Business Manager of the student newspaper, the Crimson & White, and was a member of the Inter-Fraternity Council, Druids and Delta Sigma Pi. He was also selected for Quadrangle, tapped for Jasons Honor Society and was elected president of the Student Government Association in his junior year. A member of the Air Force ROTC and the Air Force Cadet Officers Club, he earned his BS degree in Business Administration. Johnny had a career that blended entrepreneurship and sales as well as teaching and training. Following active duty Air Force service at Eglin AFB, he worked in cement and concrete construction in Pensacola, in retail with Goodyear Tires and owned a tire recapping franchise in Dublin, Georgia. He moved to Atlanta to lead sales for soft drink conglomerate Moxie Industries followed by Double Cola in Chattanooga. Returning to Atlanta, he founded a real estate appraisal firm alongside his wife’s antique appraisal business. He trained real estate appraisers throughout the metro Atlanta area and taught certification courses for many years. Johnny was an active volunteer in the Dublin Kiwanis and American Cancer Society, and in the Smyrna Habitat for Humanity.
Johnny joined the Smyrna Rotary Club in 1997 and served as Club President in 2001-2002. His constant smile, laugh, and determination to improve were his trademarks. He started the Alzheimer’s fund in the Smyrna Club which became part of the Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust (CART). Johnny was Club Chair and then 2009-2010 District Chair for the CART fund, supporting high-impact research into Alzheimer’s
disease, which had claimed his wife. Johnny was a Paul Harris Fellow, a Rotary Foundation 100% Sustaining Member, an Outstanding Service Award recipient and a recent Rotarian of the Year for Smyrna Rotary. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Wilson, and his daughter, Deborah “Sukie” Wilson. He is survived by his daughter, Melinda Wilson; his son, John Wilson and daughter-in-law Anne; and grandchildren Skylar Wilson, Caroline Goehrke and her husband Steven; Israel Vines and his wife Jen; Natasha Scott and her husband Brandon, great grandchildren Ty and Myka Scott; and by his brother, Milton Wilson and his wife Amanda and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be deeply missed by all. A memorial celebration of his life will be held at 10:00 am on February 18 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to The CART Fund for Alzheimer’s research, Smyrna Rotary Club, P.O. Box 9, Smyrna, GA 30081. Georgia Funeral Care & Cremation Services is proudly serving this family. 678-574-3016.
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