Posey county today mourned the passing of one of the most revered
and useful citizens - Dr. Robert Ernest Wilson, Mt. Vernon, 87 years old last
May 11, dean of the Posey county medical profession and scion of a family
closely identified with the community's progress for almost a century and a
Death came to the retired doctor at today in WelbornMemorialBaptistHospital in Evansville.
Cardio-vascular - renal disease complicated by pneumonia was the
cause of death.
Although his acute illness was of but a few days duration and
resulted in his entrance of the Evansville hospital Tuesday of this week his health
had deteriorated rapidly in recent months.
A spinal injury, too, had slowed his steps, but his keen, alert mind,
his interest in all that transpired about him and in the world at-large and his
brilliant memory that bridges more than years of local history remain undimmed
until the very end.The body is at
the Short-Niehaus Funeral Home and will remain there
through the funeral service set for Monday in the Short-Niehaus
chapel with Rev. J. Kenneth Forbes, minister of FirstMethodistChurch, as the officiating clergyman. Mt.Vernon lodge of Elks, which had bestowed upon
the deceased a Life membership, will conduct a memorial service in the funeral
chapel, beginning at Saturday. Burial will be in Old
Beech (Bethany) cemetery in East Lynn township alongside the graves of his wife
who died in 1946, his daughter, Miriam Wilson Gough, who died in 1949 and a son
Albert Wilson, who passed away in 1902 as a small boy. In the same
cemetery rest the remains of Dr. Wilson's grandfather and grandmother, Robert
and Elizabeth Wilson, member of the Wilson family who came to Posey county from Pennsylvania in 1815 - a year before Indiana became a state. Robert Wilson was
born in 1792 and Elizabeth Wilson in 1794.
In accordance with Dr. Wilson's wishes the family requests that
contributions to the Cancer Fund in memory of his daughter, Mrs. Gough, take
the place of floral offerings.
Surviving are three grandchildren, Ann Gough, Indianapolis, and Robert Wilson Gough and David Pittenger Gough, Mt.Vernon; the son in law, Robert H. Gough,
business teacher of EvansvilleBosseHigh school; a newphew,
William A. Wilson, Chicago, and two nieces, Miss Helen Elliott, New Harmony and Mrs. Willis Hickam,
Spencer, Ind. The son in law
who has been serving in an official capacity at the annual convention of the
National Business Teachers Association in Chicago, arrived in Mt.Vernon early today after airline flight from Chicago.
Dr. Wilson, the grandchildren and the grandchildren's father
continued to make their home at 628 Walnut street following the death of Mrs. Gough.
Dr. Wilson, his wife, the former Elsie Newsom of New Harmony, and the
daughter moved to Mt. Vernon about 30 years ago from Lynn township which had
been the central locale of Dr. Wilson's successful medical practice.
The Wilson homestead on present State Road 69 north of Smith
schoolhouse was the birthplace of the late deceased and was owned by him at the
time of his passing, although he spent a major part of his married life at
Rest-A-While located farther south on Road 69 at its junction with the Springfield Highway.
He was the son of Alexander Wilson and Margaret Stallings Wilson,
representatives of two Posey county's most prominent pioneer families. Of
the six sons and a daughter born to Alexander and Margaret Stallings Wilson,
only three reached maturity and all three are now deceased - Lawrence Wilson,
Mrs. May Wilson Elliott, wife of Elmer E. Elliott, and Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson studied pharmacy in IndianaUniversity and his first college degree was in
pharmacy. For a short while he was a pharmacist in the former Thrall
& Mumford Drug Store in New Harmony. Upon reaching a decision to enter
the medical profession he enrolled in MiamiMedicalCollege in Cincinnati and received his M. D. degree in 1896.
He was president of his class. He returned to New Harmony to begin his medical practice and a year
following his graduation from Miami was married. His practice in New Harmony was brief prior to his location in Lynntownship where
he practiced until his retirement and residence in Mt.Vernon. Too few doctors have been
accorded his privilege of witnessing first-hand the marvelous strides of
medical science from the saddle horse and horse and buggy days, when he
literally fought his way over unimproved roads to the bedside of patients, to
the modern era.
In addition to his successful professional career, Dr. Wilson
directed his talent and energy into other fields. He was a director for
many years of People's Bank and Trust Co., disposing of his bank stock and
resigning from his official position only recently; a stockholder in the former
Mt. Vernon-owned -and operated Mt. Vernon Milling Co., and the owner of a
citrus farm in California.
He was an ardent follower of sports and athletics and a
participant of no mean ability. He was one of the oldest, if not the
oldest I-Man of IndianaUniversity, winning his letter as first baseman on
the university baseball team in 1887. He never lost his interest in the
diamond sport and when football and basketball were added to the sports program
of high schools and colleges and universities he became an ardent follower of
them, also. Until his advanced years made it impossible for him to actively
participate he was a widely known devotee of field sports and he never lost his
interest in a sharp hunting dog, a good gun or a harness racing horse.
A genial personality, a ready wit and mastery of conversation made
him a popular figure in social circles.
Death of his wife and then his daughter in the declining years of
his life dealt him severe blows but he carried on gallantly, masking a heavy
heart with a never-failing interest in life in all its ramifications and a flow
of anecdotes that were innumerable in their application to almost every
situation that confronted him. He and other member of the Wilson family were the donors of the popular WilsonCommunity Center in Lynntownship and
following the death of his daughter he provided the well-equipped and much-used
kitchen of the center as a memorial to her.
During World War II, he was a member of the Posey County Rationing
Board. In both Wars I and II he was prominent in Red Cross and Posey
County Medical Society contributions to the war effort.
In addition to being a Life member of the Mt.Vernon lodge of Elks, he was a Participating member
of the Elks National Foundation and a daily, appreciated visitor at the Elks
Home, where he was a favorite with you and ole members.
Dr Wilson also
was a member of Beulah lodge, No. 578 Free and Accepted Masons, Mt.Vernon, and the now extinct Mt.Vernon lodge of Knights of Pythias.