WFLO'S Wilson Dies On Tuesday

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FARMVILLE – John Dennis Wilson, 85, of Farmville, passed away on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. A native of Rice, he was the third child of Jasper Dennis and Helen Vaughan Wilson. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from Farmville High School.

After high school, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Japan. When he returned to this area, he attended Hampden-Sydney College and later graduated from the National Academy of Broadcasters in Washington, D. C.

In 1950, he married Washington, D. C. native Jean Alice Cunningham, who was attending State Teachers College in Farmville.

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Wilson came to WFLO Radio Station, Farmville, as a sales representative in 1950. He was named general manager in 1953 and held that post until his semi-retirement 37 years later, when he became management consultant to his successor, Gene Eike. Eike held that position until the time of his death ten years later. Wilson served as general manager for a year following Gene Eike's death before naming Francis Wood as general manager in 2001. He continued as management consultant until his passing. Wilson's 37 year run as general manager at the same radio station was a state record among broadcasting executives in 1989.

John D. Wilson served as a director on the board of Southside Community Hospital in Farmville for 28 years. He served several terms on the Virginia Association of Broadcasters board of directors. He was an active member and former president of the Farmville Lions Club. He was an Elder and Sunday school teacher in the Farmville Presbyterian Church community and also served as a lay speaker throughout the area. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing and gardening.

Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jean Alice of Farmville; Samuel V. Wilson and wife, Susie (Rice); Dr. James B. Wilson (Rice); and many nieces and nephews. He is pre-deceased by a sister, Virginia W. Druen and brother, Dr. William L. Wilson.

WFLO's current general manager, Francis Wood, said about John Wilson, “His passion for radio broadcasting, his community and, WFLO in particular, led to it becoming one of the most noted hometown radio stations in the state. John often referred to WFLO as quote: 'Your full service hometown radio station.' He was a true radio icon and a patriarch to his radio family. We have been blessed to work beside him.”

Funeral arrangements are pending. Doyne-Burger-Davis Funeral Home, Farmville, is serving the family.