Donald Ray Wilson born October 11th, 1941, in Twin City, GA, passed away on Friday, April 11th, 2014, at his home in Kingsland, GA. He suffered a long illness from a rare disease called Multiple System Atrophy. Ray was a loving son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather.
The Wilson family came to Camden County in 1976, when Ray became a teacher at Camden County High School for the automotive program. Teaching was Ray’s passion and he made a great impact on his students by teaching them the automotive trade, as well as vital life’s lessons.
Ray learned his trade first as a child of the depression, where he had to build his first car just to have a way to get to work. He graduated from Emanuel County Institute in 1959 and joined the US Army, where he worked in the motor pool. Instead of learning more about automotive repair, he spent most of his time driving his commanding officer around the Hawaii base. After his tour in the service, Ray came home to Georgia, where he worked at a car dealership as a service technician and went to tech school at night.
He met and later married his wife Mary Claxton of Swainsboro, GA in 1964. They share two children and made Camden County their home.
Ray retired from teaching at the high school in 2001, but he still remained a teacher to the people he saw every day. He also continued to teach students in his dreams at night, often turning wrenches, sometimes even wrenching his wife’s fingers in his sleep. He never ceased to use his automotive skills to help anyone in need. He was an integrative part of SkillsUSA, (once known as VICA) where he had many students that went on to compete in local, state, and national competitions. He continued working with students in SkillsUSA as an advisor long after he retired. Some of these students have gone on to become leaders in our community and in other areas around the world.
Ray was also very active in his faith as a member of Kingsland First Baptist Church where he taught Sunday school, headed the transportation committee of the church, fixed vans and buses, and became a deacon throughout his years as a church member. He also did a little acting in church related plays.
Ray was known to many of his students as Ray-Ray and later became known as Flash to his friends and church peers. He never believed in doing things fast and in a hurry, he believed in doing it right the first time no matter how long it took. He also was known as Papa to his five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Ray leaves behind his wife of fifty years, Mary Wilson, two children, Mark E. Wilson (Carrie) of Castle Rock, Colorado and Donna R. Wilson of Woodbine; five grandchildren: Brandon M. Minter (Kim) of Kingsland, Kasey L. Minter of Woodbine, Ryan D. Minter of Statesboro, Melissa L. Wilson and Dillon R. Wilson both of Castle Rock, Colorado; one great grandchild and another expected in October. Ray also leaves behind his brother Edwin L. Wilson (Louise) of Twin City, GA and several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours for Mr. Wilson will be held from 6-8 PM, Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland, Ga. Funeral services will start at 2 PM on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 in the new sanctuary of the Kingsland First Baptist Church, with Pastor John Jenkins presiding. The eulogy will be presented by Carlos Jones, Jr. Interment will be Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 11 AM in the Coleman Cemetery near Twin City, Ga.
The family requests that any donations be made to Hospice of the Golden Isles, Autism Speaks, or Multiple System Atrophy Coalition to further the research of this disease.
October 11, 1941- April 11, 2014