The Rev. Thomas A. Wilson, 85, a Lutheran pastor in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan for nearly 60 years, died Wednesday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue.
He had cancer, his wife, Fran, said.
Mr. Wilson retired from active ministry in 1998 after 15 years as senior pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in South Toledo. Yet he was rarely inactive afterward. He most recently was interim pastor of St. John’s Lutheran in Toledo. He'd been an interim pastor at St. Paul's, Olivet, and Reformation Lutheran churches in Toledo; Zion Lutheran Church in Ottawa Lake, and Trinity Lutheran in Riga, Mich.
He graduated from seminary in June, 1954, and less than a month later was installed as pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church at Blackberry Corners in Ottawa County. He was the congregation's first resident pastor, and it was home until 1983.
“He would have people he had baptized as infants and he would confirm them and preside at their wedding, and they would have a baby, and he would baptize them,” his daughter, Peggy, said.
He became a single father of two in 1968 when his first wife, Virginia “Gini” Wilson, died after a five-year illness. Years earlier he’d presided at the marriage of Clyde and Fran Tank. Mrs. Tank later became a widow and a single parent.
The couple married Oct. 29, 1978. “I used to joke he married me twice,” Fran Wilson said.
He was born Aug. 27, 1928, to Leona and the Rev. Thomas M. Wilson, founding pastor of Divinity Lutheran Church in Detroit. The family doctor offered to pay his way through medical school. By the time he graduated from Detroit’s Western High School in 1946, “he felt that wasn't really the direction he should go in life,” his daughter said.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, and studied in its seminary. His father officiated when he became pastor of St. Peter.
Surviving are his wife, Frances “Flip” Wilson; daughter, Margaret “Peggy“ Deames; son, Tom Wilson; stepsons, Tim and Jeff Tank; sister, Marion Kleman; brother, Walter Wilson, and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. today and noon-6 p.m. Sunday in the Coyle Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Peter Lutheran Church, Blackberry Corners, State Rt. 579 and Elliston-Trowbridge Road, where the family will receive friends after 10 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or a church or charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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