Exhausting the last of his nine lives, Howard Emmett Wilson, Jr. of Cambridge passed away at the James Cancer Center on December 11th, 2019, surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Howard was born on February 22nd, 1948, the son of Howard E. Wilson, Sr. and Marjorie Moore Wilson. Proving his teachers wrong, Howard graduated from Philo High School in 1966. Starting college at Ohio Wesleyan University on a football scholarship, he was angered by draft dodgers and quit college to hitch hike home and enlist in the U.S. Army. Stating he wanted to sign up for the most dangerous job he could have, he served in the C Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Twice wounded in combat, his awards include Paratrooper Wings, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star for Valor, and two Purple Hearts. Despite chronic health issues as a result of his service, he stated that even knowing what the future would hold for him, he would make the same choices all over again. He always believed in doing the right thing, and never wavered from his commitment to do just that.
After he surprised himself by returning home from Vietnam alive, Howard and Rondah began planning their wedding. They were married November 22nd, 1969. Howard became a legend around the Philo and Duncan Falls area riding his Harley, with his casted foot propped up on a bar soldered on his bike. His love of Harleys continued, and after he had his leg amputated several years ago, he switched from a two-wheeler to his trike, which he enjoyed riding with his wife.
Howard graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in History, and an M.A. in Political Science. He worked as a Parole and Probation Officer, a training officer for firearms and defensive tactics, supervised the establishment and activation of the Corrections Training Academy in Orient, Ohio, instructed advanced training for law enforcement agencies including Columbus P.D., Columbus SWAT, Los Angeles SWAT, Ohio Division of Watercraft, and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources. For his work as a Parole and Training Officer, he was named to the Fraternal Order of Police Hall of Fame in 1998. Starting in 1994, he oversaw the opening of the Belmont Correctional Institution and was promoted to Deputy Warden. He was then assigned the same task for the Noble Correctional Institution, remaining until his 2001 retirement as Deputy Warden of Administration. In this position he uncovered millions of dollars of fraudulent expenditures with private contractors. In recognition of this, he was nominated and appointed a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky for distinguished public service. In 2011 he was selected for the Franklin Local School District Alumni Wall of Honor.
Highly trained in martial arts, Howard held a Black Belt rank in three martial arts, thus eliminating any chances of his daughters dating anyone from the surrounding area. He held a 5th degree black belt in Karate, 5th degree black belt in Aiki-Jitsu, and 2nd degree black belt in Aikido.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Charles Wilson. Surviving are his wife, Rondah Shook Wilson, with whom he celebrated their 50th anniversary on November 22nd, 2019. Daughters Erin (Jim) Beane of Zanesville, Jessica (Steve) Perrin of New Concord. Grandchildren Cambria and Hannah Beane, Adam, Sydney, and Olivia Perrin. Brother Dwight (Colleen) Wilson of Vero Beach, FL, sister Judy Wilson of Blue Rock, Sister-in-law Patti (Bill) Schlosser of Madison, AL. Nephews and nieces Andy Wilson of Vero Beach, Neil (Victoria) Wilson and their sons Logan and Clayton of Vero Beach, Sarah Wilson of Charlottesville, VA, Matt Crawford of Orlando, FL, and Lindsey (Dave) Garcia and her son Max of Madison, AL. Also survived by aunts Zampa Wilson and comedic cohort Garnett Frame.
Howard was known as the life of the party, always quick witted, and unafraid to be politically incorrect. He exhibited a superhero’s bravery throughout his life with every challenge he encountered. Never one to complain, he believed in working hard for what one wants to achieve and that choices weren’t difficult when you realized that “right is right, wrong is wrong.” Howard impacted numerous lives throughout his life, career, and martial arts experiences. Despite the gaping hole left in the lives of those who love him, they will continue to be guided by his wisdom and humor.
Calling hours will be at the Farus Funeral Home in Duncan Falls on Sunday, Dec. 15th, from 2-6 P.M. Services will be held at 11 A.M. Monday, Dec.16th, with Chaplin Gary Eno and Pastor Mark Stinson officiating services. Burial will follow at Duncan Falls Cemetery with military honors. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Howard’s name to Secret Santa, P.O. Box 323, Cambridge, Ohio 43725.
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