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Abie Wilson

May 17, 1921 June 25, 2019
Abie Wilson
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Obituary for Abie Wilson

Abie Wilson

THE LEGACY

How do you fit a giant into a mouse hole? This was our task in trying to adequately, but succinctly, share the legacy of our father’s life.

Born on May 5, 1921 in Alcolu, South Carolina to Abie Wilson, Sr. and Maggie Thomas Wilson, Abie LeRoy Wilson, Jr. was the 5th of 6 children: Leon, Woodrow, Lucinda, Ernestine, and Carrie. He was the last survivor of his siblings.

Growing up in Alcolu, Lane, and then Kingstree, S.C., Abie, Jr. was studious, creative, athletic, religious, outspoken, industrious, charismatic, and VERY family oriented. A protector and provider by nature, even at an early age, Abie would take on jobs like office cleaning, shoe shining, tutoring - both before and after school, so that he could provide those “extras” that his mother and sisters (especially) may have wanted. He always took pride in the Wilsons being well mannered, well educated, well kept, well fed, and well dressed! Always active in the church, when the family moved to Kingstree, S.C., they became members of Siloam Baptist Church, where his father was Deacon and Presiding Elder. Daddy always believed his love of music came from his mother, who sang, played piano, formed a quartet, and taught others how to harmonize and sing “shape notes”.

It was at Tomlinson High School, under the tutelage of Professor C.E. Murray, that Abie’s love of English, theater, and oratory was peaked and polished. There, he was encouraged to learn, memorize, and recite the poems that would become some of his signature pieces in the decades ahead. He also sang in the choir, played basketball, and usually brought home the winning trophies of various debate and oratory competitions.

After high school, Abie spent a brief time in Petersburg, Virginia, and then moved to New York City. In 1942 he was drafted into the Army, becoming a member of the 366 Engineer Division which provided the ammunition, and build the bridges and bivouacs for many of the fighting troops. While in the Army, Abie traveled to Belgium, Ireland, Germany, France, and England. In England he was afforded the opportunity to attend Shrivenham University where he continued his studies in English and Theater. He also was a member of a military band that entertained the troops; Daddy was the lead singer, and Nathaniel Cole – yes, THE Nat King Cole was the pianist.

Returning home after his military tour, Abie attended Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina. There he became the president of the Veteran’s Club and Students’ Council; along with his line brothers brought the first chapter (Theta Rho) of the brotherhood of Kappa Alpha Psi to Allen’s campus; and brought the first Masonic chapter/lodge to Allen. Daddy wrote and read the introductory speech for Dr. W.E.B. DuBois’ visit to the campus. But most importantly, he met the love of his life and future wife, Dorothy Howard – a darling Delta from Clairton, Pennsylvania.

Abie and Dorothy were married in1951, moved to N.Y., and went on to have 5 children. Up until the birth of their first child, they each worked 2 full time jobs - as educators (teaching English) and community center recreation directors. While teaching at J.H.S. 180 in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, Abie continued his love of theater by producing and directing plays and musicals for the school, the church, and the community at large. Abie became the Assistant Principal at Virgil Grissom JHS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York. The family successively were members of Calvary Baptist Church, First Congregational Church of Rockaway, and Lemuel Haynes Congregational Church (United Church of Christ). Outside of work and church, Abie was a civil rights activist, elected City Councilman, community organizer, D.C. 37 Union shop steward, and often featured bass-baritone of the renown Carr-Hill Singers. Daddy would always say “No matter how busy I was, I always attended my children’s many performances, games, graduations, and other activities; they kept me running”.

After 31 years in N.Y., upon his retirement, Abie, Dorothy, and son Marshall returned to Kingstree, S.C. Wasting no time, he (and the family) reactivated membership at Siloam Baptist Church, and later became long-standing members of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. There, Abie became a certified Lay Speaker.

Over the next 36 years, Abie became active with the Williamsburg County Arts Council, the Black Heritage Festival, the local NAACP chapter, the Kingstree Kappa chapter, the regional AARP chapter, the African American Arts Gallery, and the Kingstree Housing Authority. He has received awards, citations, and accolades too numerous to mention.

In 2015, Abie lost his wife of 63 years, Dorothy.

Abie took ill in 2018, and for the next year went through multiple surgeries and rehabilitation at the Kingstree Nursing Home, Williamsburg County Hospital, and the Carolinas Hospital System.

On June 25, 2019, at Carolinas Hospital in Florence, S.C., peacefully Daddy made his transition.

Among the many celebrating his life, legacy, and love are his 5 children: Howard, Kadijah Nyki, Lesette, Debra, and Marshall; grandchildren: Brandon, Jared, Dezeah, Shaquanna, Imani, Deserae, Justin, Ihsaan, and Khalief; grandson-in-law: Peter; great-grandchildren: Isaiah, Naomi, Elijah, Leah, Malachi, Carmen, and Journee; sister-in-law: Aletha Howard Batch; son-in-law: Stephen; daughters-in-law: Lanetta and Veronica; nephews, nieces, and cousins in New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada; the entire Manyansa family, and an innumerable host of family, friends, admirers, and loved ones.

Because we are still living, Abie’s legacy can still live. Only part of his story has been told – it’s up to us to tell the rest. We mourn, but we celebrate. Abie lived to be 98 years old. Our God is an awesome God!


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Previous Events

Visitation

Tuesday

2

Jul

1:00 PM 7/2/2019 1:00:00 PM - 5:00 PM 7/2/2019 5:00:00 PM
Dimery and Rogers Chapel - Kingstree

404 E. Main St
Kingstree, SC 29556

Wake Services, Tuesday 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Mt. Zion UM Church

Dimery and Rogers Chapel - Kingstree
404 E. Main St Kingstree 29556 SC
United States

Service

Wednesday

3

Jul

11:00 AM 7/3/2019 11:00:00 AM
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church

701 St. John Street
Kingstree, Sc 29556

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
701 St. John Street Kingstree 29556 Sc
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Kingstree Cemetery Final Resting Place

East Main Street
Kingstree, SC 29556

East Main Street Kingstree 29556 SC
United States
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