1905 – 1989 (March 27)
John Francis Wilson was born on August 24, 1905, in Troy, New York, to Guy H. Wilson and Ellen Mackrell. He had four brothers and a sister. Baptized in Saint Augustine Church, Troy, he attended the parish grammar school and for three years Central Catholic High School, also in Troy. In 1922 he applied and was accepted as a fourth year postulant at Saint Rita Hall, Villanova, PA, from which he graduated in 1924. He entered at Our Mother of Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., where he professed simple vows on June 24, 1924. Three years later, on June 22, 1927, he professed solemn vows at Saint Mary's Hall, on the campus of Villanova College, from which he graduated with an B.A. degree in philosophy that same year. While at Villanova, he took summer courses in mathematics and physics. Sent to Spain for his theology studies, he was ordained at the Escorial Monastery by Bishop Luciano Pereaz Plutero on July 25, 1930. On his return to the United States, he received an M.A. from Villanova University in 1931.
Father Wilson's first assignments were in the field of education, first at Villanova College where he taught and was a hall prefect, then at San Agustin, Havana, Cuba, where he taught and perfected his skills in the Spanish language. He also taught at Saint Rita High School, Chicago, IL, and at Cascia Hall, Tulsa, OK. In 1949 he was assigned to Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, CA. Two years later, in 1951, he received his first parochial assignment to Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Los Angeles, CA, where he helped to set up a mission church for the growing parish. In 1952 he was assigned as assistant pastor to Saint Laurence O'Toole Church, Lawrence, MA, and after four years was transferred to Saint Mary's Church in the same city.
From 1956 to 1969 Father Wilson was assistant pastor and ministered in the Spanish-speaking apostolate at the Immaculate Conception Mission of the parish, and supervised the grammar school and girls' high school. In 1969 he was assigned as pastor to Saint James the Minor Church, Carthage, N.Y., and in 1973 was transferred to Saint John the Baptist Church, Schaghticoke, N.Y., as acting prior. The following year he was assigned to Saint Patrick Church, Cambridge, N.Y., as pastor and remained at Saint Patrick's as assistant pastor following his retirement in 1977.
Father Wilson was an outgoing person with a ready wit and keen sense of humor. He continued even in his years of retirement to exert wide influence. He died on March 27, 1989.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on March 30, 1989, at Saint Patrick Church. Father Wilson is buried in the Augustinian plot of Saint John Cemetery, Troy, NY.