Jon Harlan Wilson
Jon Harlan Wilson was born on July 2, 1935, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and went to his eternal home on his 85th birthday, July 2, 2020. Jon’s parents were Vivan Lynn Wilson and Winona Burch Wilson. Jon spent his early years in Healdton, Oklahoma, where his dad taught school and coached. He had two brothers, Donald Ray and Vivan Lynn “Chig” Wilson, Jr. In 1942, the family moved to Seminole, Texas, where his father went to work for Mobil Oil Co. Jon started school in Seminole and graduated from Seminole High School. In school, Jon played the trumpet and was also an exceptional athlete. He competed for the Seminole Indians in track, basketball, and football. He was captain of the football and basketball teams and, while serving as quarterback, he lead the Indians to Texas All-District. He was also very active in Boy Scouts. The years in Seminole were cherished and Jon returned to attend many high school reunions.
Due to a severe back injury, Jon wasn’t able to accept a football scholarship to the University of Denver. Instead, he played basketball for Odessa College, where he met and married “the prettiest girl in Texas,” Marilyn Jane Smith in 1954. The young couple moved to Lubbock, Texas where Jon attended Texas Tech University. In 1955, their first child Tracey was born. After graduating from Tech and finishing a graduate program, Jon accepted a position as City Manager of Brinkley, Arkansas. During his years there, he was voted “Man of the Year.” In 1961, his second daughter, Christy, was born in Brinkley.
Jon moved to Marianna, Arkansas where he entered the private sector and founded Crestpark Retirement Inns. The chain grew to seven locations across Arkansas. In Marianna, Jon enjoyed golf and was active in the Rotary Club and the First United Methodist Church. The family moved across the Mississippi River to Memphis in 1972, where Jon added a chain of banks, Marion Trust & Banking Co. and a Bond Company to his list of businesses.
His love for Texas and John Wayne spurred him to hunt for a ranch. In 1977, he bought Fairway Farm/ Red River J Ranch in San Augustine, Texas. It became a family business where he enjoyed many years of hosting family and friends.
Jon & Janie’s next move was to Austin, Texas in 1983. There, he was a founder of Bank of the West, involved in Four Square Oil & Gas Company, and speculated in real estate. In 1996, he founded HealthBack Home Health and later cofounded Faith Hospice. In 2002, he moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, where he was finally able to have his entire family in one town. He thoroughly enjoyed coaching them at every opportunity.
Jon is preceded in death by his parents, Vivan and Winona and brother Max. He is survived by his wife Janie and two daughters, Tracey Ayers and husband Troy Ayers, and Christy Wilson, all from Edmond. Three granddaughters, Emily Irwin and husband Jimmy Irwin, Abby Wilson, and Tessa Ayers, also all from Edmond. His two brothers, Donnie and Lynda Wilson of Anna, Texas and Chig and Sharon Wilson of Grand Prairie, Texas, and many nieces and nephews.
Jon was an entrepreneur, patriot, an encourager, and great leader. He helped many people during his life. He was a loving husband and “Daddy.” His granddaughters called him “FaFa” and thought he was the absolute best grandfather of all time!
“All-American” was the term he used to express his highest praise. He undoubtedly was an All-American in every way, and he will truly be missed.
A celebration of Jon’s life will be held on Saturday July 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Matthews Funeral Home, 601 S. Kelly Ave. Edmond, Oklahoma 73003. He will be laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery, 13313 N. Kelley Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73131. A reception will be held at the cemetery following the interment.
We intend to practice social distancing to the best of our abilities. Masks will be provided and encouraged, but not required.
We will be live streaming this service in an effort to accommodate those people that wish to attend but feel they should not due to the health environment. To watch the service CLICK HERE to go to our YouTube page. Then click on ‘Videos’ then ‘Live Streams’.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
City Rescue Mission
800 W. California Ave
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73106
Hearts for Hearing
11500 Portland Ave.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120