Deacon William “Bill” Wilson, who ministered in St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, died Nov. 16 in his home in Robbinsville. He was 88.
Funeral services will begin Nov. 21 with visitation for family and friends from 4 to 8 p.m. in St. Gregory the Great Church, 4620 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square. Members of the Hamilton Council, Knights of Columbus, will lead a service at 6:30 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the church Nov. 22 at 11:30 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hamilton.
Born and raised in Trenton, Deacon Wilson was a lifelong area resident and a graduate of Trenton High School, Class of 1952, where he ran cross country and track. After graduation, he became a carpenter’s apprentice with Carpenter’s Union Local #31 and quickly rose to a journeyman carpenter. He advanced to become a foreman of construction projects throughout the area, many of which, including the Planetarium at New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, are still landmarks today.
In the mid-1970s, he began teaching his craft to others as a faculty member at Mercer County Vocational Technical School. He also served his country, providing military construction support as a member of Seabees in the U.S. Navy reserves for more than 10 years.
During his career as a carpenter and in construction, Deacon Wilson worked as a superintendent for many years with Belli Construction. He later joined Martin House, a non-profit organization in inner-city Trenton that helps people in Trenton realize their dream of homeownership. Through his involvement with the youth group in St. Gregory the Great Parish, he shared his skills as a facilitator on service trips to the Appalachian Mountains to build homes for those less fortunate. He and his son, Bill, began W. Wilson Construction, where they worked side-by-side for years until Deacon Wilson retired in 1998. Later that year, he joined the Diocese of Trenton where he served as the superintendent of construction until his second retirement in 2015.
Deacon Wilson was ordained a deacon by Bishop John C. Reiss May 11, 1991 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. He was assigned to his home parish, St. Gregory the Great, where he led the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process for 11 years and served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to nursing home residents and the homebound. He had also been active with the Holy Innocents Society, which provides religious education to adults and children with special needs in the 1980s; Martin House in the 1980s and 1990s, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a founder of the Trenton-based City of Angels addiction recovery community.
Deacon Wilson was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Dorothy (Forrest) Wilson. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Cecelia C. (Battiste) Wilson; three children, Wendy (Michael) Beauchemin of Florence, William T. (Pamela) of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Sharon Puglisi of Robbinsville; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, and a brother and sister.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Gregory the Great Parish, 4620 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, N.J. 08690 or City of Angels by visiting In Memory Of at inmemof.org.