Ernest "Ernie" L. Wilson, 59, of Greenville, died Tuesday in Princeton. A military graveside service is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Peters Funeral Home.

Born March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, he was the son of Lloyd and Opal Bradley Wilson. On Oct. 23, 1981, he married Melinda Saunders in San Antonio. After serving 26 years, he retired from the United States Air Force as a senior master sergeant and worked for 10 years at L-3 Communications where he was a senior systems engineer. Mr. Wilson was a member of the Commerce TASO, Dixie Baseball, Former UIC and Association of Old Crows.

Survivors are his wife of Greenville; daughters Darlene Norman of New York and Natalie McKenna and husband John of Florida; two sons, Doug Wilson of Ohio and Shannon Stephens and wife Jennifer of McKinney; his mother, Opal Johnson of Ohio; brothers LaFon Wilson of Indiana and Kenny and Elton Wilson, both of Ohio; and grandsons Jacob Wilson of Ohio and Larry Norman Jr. of New York.

This obituary was sent to the Silent Warriors webmaster by Darr King. Darr added the following remarks to the obituary:

"(I) first met and served with Ernie at Yokota (6988th) in the mid '60s. Spent a gazillion hours with him in the Sea of Japan. We got together again at Eielson in late '69...flew the RCs for another gazillion hours. Lots of TDYs together to England. While at Eielson, we played in the snow...riding snowmachines and drinking Ripple. When he was reassigned to the headquarters, he and Melinda lived one street from me...Ernie and I would run all over the neighborhood and the back roads of the North West side of San Antonio. Ernie was a professional in his duty, a wonderful human being, and a heck of a good friend. He is sorely missed. RIP mi amigo!

Newspaper article about Ernie Wilson:


Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation and Viewing will be at Peter's Funeral Home Friday, 12 December from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
There will be a graveside service in San Antonio at Ft. Sam Houston on Monday, 15 December at 2:00 PM.

Services planned for youth sports referee
By Melva Geyer/Herald-Banner Staff
Thursday, December 11, 2003 12:04 AM CST

Funeral arrangements were being planned Wednesday for Greenville resident Ernest L. "Ernie" Wilson who died after collapsing while officiating during a high school basketball game Tuesday night.

Wilson, 59, collapsed at the end of the first half of the North Lamar-Princeton girls basketball game in Princeton as a player prepared to shoot free throws during a game, according to Princeton coach Dexter Ivy.

After CPR was performed on him on the court by a paramedic attending the game, Wilson was taken to a McKinney hospital west of Princeton where he was pronounced dead.

Paramedics attempted to revive Wilson on the gym floor for about 45 minutes, but were unsuccessful.

Princeton ISD Superintendent Philip Anthony said Wilson appeared fine during the game.

"It was something that appeared to be very sudden," Anthony said. "Whatever it was, it seemed to have been very massive."

The Collin County medical examiner said Wilson died of heart disease. Officials working the game with Wilson said he gave no indicaton of feeling ill before collapsing with seven seconds left in the half.

Wilson had officiated hundreds of youth sports events in baseball, basketball, football and softball for a number of years in the North Texas area including Greenville and Commerce. He was a member of the Commerce I.S.O. and Dixie baseball.

"He really loved officiating," Ivy said. "He was a pure professional in the way he approached things."

His wife, Melinda, said her husband loved being a referee.

"I think he just enjoyed the camaraderie with the fellow officials, and he wanted to help the kids and further the sports programs," she said.

As word of Wilson's death spread Tuesday night, some game officials in the area suspended action for a few moments to meet together off the gym floor to gather their thoughts, school officials reported. The Princeton game was suspended for the evening and will be completed today.

Wilson was a retired Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, with 26 years of service. He worked for 10 years at L-3 Communications as a senior systems engineer.

He was born March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, the son of Lloyd and Opal Bradley Wilson. Wilson's survivors include his wife and four grown children.

A military burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery is being planned for next week. Peters Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.