Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Wilsons in:
 • United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
 • Colorado Springs
 • El Paso County
 • Colorado
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Gen James Van Gorder "Jim" Wilson
Birth: Feb. 27, 1913
Ellwood City
Beaver County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Aug. 7, 1983
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA

As a child, James Van Gorder Wilson attended Hopewell, a one-room schoolhouse. After graduating from Lincoln High School in 1930, he attended one year at Geneva College before entering West Point - graduating in the West Point class of 1935. He earned his Army Air Corps wings at Randolph Field, and it was here in the Randolph Field Base Chapel that he married Isabel May Steele on December 24, 1935. James and Isabel Wilson had two children, James Van Gorder Wilson Jr. (born in St. Louis MO in 1937) and Robert McClain Wilson (born in Cornwall NY in 1942 when Jim Sr. was back at West Point as an instructor in the Physics Department.)

During WWII, Jim was sent to England with the 8th Air Force where he was assigned as the Deputy Commander of the 359th Fighter Group at East Wretham. He flew fighter escort with the 359th Fighter Squadron and on March 11, 1945 his P-51 sustained a coolant leak while over the North Sea and he was forced to bail out over northwestern Germany. He was interned as a POW in Barth, Germany for the remainder of the war. After the war, Jim earned a masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. In 1947, the Army Air Corps became the Department of the Air Force. When the United States Air Force Academy was organized in 1954, General Wilson was instrumental in organizing several academic departments. Shortly after he arrived in Colorado, his wife Isabel Steele Wilson was taken ill and died.

After Isabel died, the General's son Bob met a classmate (Robert Badger) and the two of them set James Wilson up with Bob Badger's mother who was a widow. In 1955, Betty Stark Badger and General Wilson married. Subsequently, Jim and Betty had a daughter Mary Beth.

Meanwhile at the Air Force Academy, from Oct. 1954 to July 1955, James V.G. Wilson was responsible for organizing and manning the Chemistry Department. From July 1955 to April 1956, he was responsible for organizing and manning the Physics Department. From 1956 to 1963 he was responsible for organizing, manning and running the Electrical Engineering Department, and he was Professor and Head of the Department. He was Acting Dean of the Faculty 1964-65 Academic Year.

In 1965, after 30 years of service, Jim retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General. After several months of retirement, he suffered a heart attack. But he wasn't finished with academic life yet. Jim became Administrator of Academic Affairs at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He held this position for 12 years then retired again, in 1978, at the age of 65.

General and Mrs. Wilson hosted many of the Cadets at the Air Force Academy at their home. They sponsored the first female Air Force Academy cadet. They are both buried in the Air Force Academy cemetery.
 (bio by: RosalieAnn) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charles Emmet Wilson (1884 - 1975)
  Emma Van Gorder Wilson (1885 - 1951)
 
 Spouses:
  Elizabeth Margaret Stark Wilson (1919 - 1985)
  Isabel May Steele Wilson (1912 - 1955)*
 
 Children:
  James V G Wilson (1937 - 2007)*
 
 Siblings:
  Warren William Wilson (1908 - 1970)*
  Ralph Harvey Wilson (1909 - 1984)*
  Eleanor Louise Wilson Gaskell (1911 - 1973)*
  James Van Gorder Wilson (1913 - 1983)
  Charles Richard Wilson (1915 - 1999)*
  Donald Alan Wilson (1916 - 1999)*
  Miriam Kathryn Wilson Ifft (1920 - 2003)*
  Janice Virginia Wilson Bader (1925 - 2005)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA
Plot: 003 B 066
 
Maintained by: RosalieAnn
Originally Created by: HEE (inactive)
Record added: Jan 26, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17692490
Gen James Van Gorder Jim Wilson
Added by: Joel Frampton Gilfert
 
Gen James Van Gorder Jim Wilson
Added by: CW Loeffler
 
Gen James Van Gorder Jim Wilson
Added by: CW Loeffler
 
 
There are 2 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

God Bless you and thank you for your service to our great country!
- Mark Dutton
 Added: Dec. 16, 2014
Gone but not forgotten
- Pam
 Added: Jul. 16, 2012
We think of you often and miss you terribly!
- Heather Grack
 Added: Aug. 7, 2010
There is 1 more note not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
 
This page is sponsored by: RosalieAnn

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service