James E. Wilson
Age 77, of Himrod, died at home on January 8, 2022 from pulmonary fibrosis.
Born in Summit, N.J. to A. Ned and Grace (Edmiston) Wilson, he attended Oratory Prep, Maryknoll Seminary and St. Anselm’s College. Jim was proud to have marched and demonstrated in Selma, Alabama in 1965 to protest Bloody Sunday and to affirm people’s right to vote. Jim was affiliated with the Catholic Worker movement in NYC in the mid 60’s. He actively and vocally protested the war in Vietnam. He served 2 years in Federal Prison for refusing to report for induction into the armed services as a conscientious objector.
At the Catholic Worker he observed and interacted with Dorothy Day. He was influenced by her stance on non-violence and personalism to support those in need. Jim enjoyed making soup, providing clothing and shelter for the poor and downtrodden. He begged for vegetables at the NYC market and broke up an occasional fight or two at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality. Dorothy Day named Jim as an Associate Editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper in 1966. Jim loved writing and continued to write throughout his life and career. Just prior to his passing he published a book detailing his extraordinary life, Choosing the Hard Path: a Personal History and Memoir.
During his adult life he lived in NYC, Spencer, Watkins Glen, Glenora, and Himrod, NY. He was the first executive director at The Arc of Schuyler, working there for 32 years until retiring in 2011. At The Arc, he assisted in the forefront of the movement to close institutions for people with developmental disabilities in New York State. He enjoyed many friendships with the people receiving supports and their families. He pushed for State and National recognition of direct support professionals that work on the front lines supporting people with intellectual challenges to bring attention to the unique skills and talents the job required.
In addition to holding leadership positions on various local boards, Jim also served on State and regional boards including the Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga BOCES, Tioga County Community Services Board, CSS Workforce Development Board, American Red Cross, and NYS Association for Community and Residential Agencies. Jim also Chaired NYSARC, Inc. (now The Arc New York) Executive Directors Association for eight years.
Jim will be especially remembered for his sense of humor, his commitment to social justice, peace and nonviolence, and advocacy for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in everyday life.
Survivors include his wife and life partner Jeannette Frank of Himrod, NY, sons Nathan (Wendy) Wilson of Maplewood, N.J., Brian Wilson (Jesse Wennik) of San Francisco, Ca., brother Gregory Wilson of Califon, N.J., sisters Anita Wilson of Edgartown, Mass. and Marilyn (Michael) Golden of Manassas, Va., granddaughters Dylan Grace and Rylie of Maplewood, N.J. Jim was predeceased by his parents A. Ned and Grace (Edmiston) Wilson of New Jersey.
According to Jim’s wishes, there will be no funeral services. A memorial service and gathering of friends and family will take place at a future date. Arrangements with Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.