Published on August 19, 2010.
Sioux Falls - Harold Wilson, age 87, died Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at
Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls. His funeral service will be at 10:00
am on Friday, August 20th at First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls
(401 S. Spring Ave). Visitation with the family present will be on Thursday,
August 19th from 5-7 pm at Miller West Funeral Chapel (41st and Valley
View Rd.) Memorials may be directed to the Veterans Memorial Park Fund
(1st National Bank, Box 798, Sioux Falls, SD 57101-0798)
Harold was born March 1, 1923 in a farm house NE of Clark, SD. He was
the son of Oscar W. Wilson and Elizabeth Keister Wilson. They moved from
Clark when Harold was 10 years old to Sibley, IA. He lettered all four
years in football, basketball, baseball and met his lovely wife to be,
June Clark. They dated all through high school and graduated together
in 1941. In his senior year of high school, Bob Feller, a famous baseball
pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, invited him to his 6 week baseball
training camp in Florida. While at the training camp, several major league
scouts took interest in his ability to play baseball.
After graduating from high school, he signed a professional baseball contract
with the St. Louis Browns. He played his first professional baseball game
the first day after graduating from high school with the Pueblo Rollers,
of Pueblo, CO at the age of 18. His second year of pro ball was played
in the Mt. State League at Huntington, WV. His two year batting average
was 332%. The next spring he was to report to the Toledo Mud Hens, a AAA
league, for spring training, but he was called to serve for Uncle Sam
Harold enlisted in the Air Force Cadets in Jan. 1943. He and June were
married Mar. 4, 1944 in Lemoore, CA. After getting married, Harold had
8 months of training to become 1st pilot in a four engine B17 Flying Fortress.
His crew of 9 and he left Lincoln, NE Dec. 1st in a brand new B17 Flying
Fortress for Kimbolton Air Force Base, 379th Bomb Group in the 8th Air
Force, in Kimbolton, England. He flew 35 missions over France & Germany.
Harold lost several engines and had his plane riddled with machine gun
shots and flack. After the 35 missions he qualified to fly back to the
states in July 1945.
Harold started Sioux Falls Monument Co. in 1947. He purchased two buildings
from the government war base in S.F. for little of nothing and remodeled
one for living quarters and an office. The other one was for a shop and
lettering plant. He built a new office and shop in 1971 on West 12th St.,
with branch offices in Brookings, Milbank, Fairmont MN, and Sheldon, IA.
He was president of the Northwest Monument Builders and The American Institute
of Commemorative Arts, for monument dealers of the US and Canada. He sold
Sioux Falls Monument Co to Ray & Shirley Darrough, his son-in-law
and daughter, and Barbara Green, his daughter in 1986, then retiring.
Harold was blessed for having shared his life with his wife June, 3 daughters;
Barbara Green, who has passed away, Shirley (Raymond) Darrough of Rapid
City and Linda (Terry) DeGroff of Burwell, NE; 8 grandchildren and 14
great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister,
2 brothers and his daughter, Barbara Green. He has a brother Edward still
Harold was a member of the First Methodist Church for over 50 years, The
American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans, El Riad
Shriners and Master Mason Trinity Lodge 200. He loved traveling with his
wife June to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and the other 48 states, being with
his family, and with his buddies hunting, fishing, and playing golf. His
life was blessed with a great family and many wonderful friends.