The Venerable Louis James “Jim” Wilson, MD. Age 89, of Eau Claire died on October 30, 2012, at Dove Healthcare West in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Jim was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 19, 1923, the son of Dr. Rolland H. Wilson, Sr. and Hildred (Thurow) Wilson.
His early years were spent in St. Paul and Harmony, Minnesota. He graduated from Winona (MN) Senior High School in 1941. He then attended Grinnell College (Iowa) and the U. of Minnesota prior to enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He was commissioned an ensign upon graduation from Midshipman School at Ft. Schuyler, NY, and served in the Pacific Area as a gunnery officer aboard the U.S.S. Shipley Bay (CVE-85).
He married Miloty Vitosky of Dallas, Texas, in April, 1945. They were later divorced.
After separation from active service in 1946, Jim completed his pre-medical studies at Southern Methodist University and the U. of Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1951. He interned at St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Paul. In 1952, and then joined his father in the general practice of medicine at Winona, Minnesota.
While in Winona, he served the professional community as secretary of the medical staff of Winona General Hospital and at Community Memorial Hospital as chair of the departments of medicine and obstetrics and first chair of the new department of family practice. He served as president of the Winona County Medical Society and was its delegate to the convention of the Minnesota State Medical Association for many years.
Jim was very involved in the Winona community; he served as president of the Noon Kiwanis Club, Easter Seal Society, the Central Elementary PTA as well as cub master for the Cub Scouts.
Being an active church member since boyhood at St Paul’s Church in Winona, particularly in the choir and the fraternity, he became attracted to the ordained ministry and he entered a tutorial program of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota. After three years of study, he was ordained deacon in St. Paul’s Church on March 1, 1959.
In 1961 he joined John R. Peterson, M.D., in family practice in the Rushford Community Clinic, Rushford, Minnesota. In 1966 he began training in the use of clinical hypnosis which he employed primarily for the relief of pain associated with childbirth. While engaged in his medical practice, he also carried out duties as deacon at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Rushford.
In 1975 Jim was appointed Medical Director of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home, Rushford. He became a diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice by examination in 1976 and was re-certified through 1996.
Jim married Rita V. Tarras of Winona in September, 1977, and, in 1980, he accepted a position as senior clinician/teacher and assistant clinical professor, in the Medical School, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, at the Family Practice Residency Program, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
In 1981 he became the first permanent deacon in the history of the Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire and was assigned to Christ Church Cathedral. He was made archdeacon of the diocese by Bishop Wantland in 1992 with the traditional title, “venerable”.
Jim served the diocese on the Commission on Ministry, the Executive Council, the Committee on Human Sexuality, and as chaplain of the Cathedral Chapter of the ecumenical healing Order of St .Luke. He retired from the active ministry in 2000 and in 2006 he was designated Archdeacon Emeritus by Bishop Whitmore. In 2009 he was honored by the cathedral parish for fifty years of service as a deacon. On November 6, 2009, the 81st Convention of the Diocese of Eau Claire sent warm greetings and commended him for his faithfulness in serving the diocese.
In the geriatric medicine program, he directed his focus, particularly, to two areas: ethical decision making involving end of life issues and the study of the dementias The former involved the development of the “Critical Care Plan”, a forerunner of the Wisconsin “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” law and the latter led to the formation of the Indianhead Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, of which he was a co-founder.
Jim retired from his clinical teaching practice and patient care in 1993 and was awarded emeritus status by the Regents of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and spent the next four years as medical director of the Center of Care and Fall Creek Valley Nursing Homes and also served as physician to the Eau Claire County Jail.
Jim’s interests were many and varied and included travel, music (vocal, piano, organ), camping, fishing, philately, photography, reading and model railroading.
He is survived by his wife, Rita of Eau Claire; sons, Larry (Jane) of Naples, Florida, and Robert (Pat) of Apple Valley, Minnesota; daughter, Mary Parr (Danny Gallo), of Bedford, Texas; seven grandchildren, Briana, Erin, Renee, Nick, Nathan, Peter Wilson, Catherine Parr; three great-grandchildren; brother, Rolland H. (Barbora) Wilson, Jr., of Minneapolis; a sister-in-law, Phyllis Wilson of Waukesha, WI; sisters-in-law Mary Barry, of Rudyard, MI, Jean Galewski, of Winona, MN, and Betty Sneed of Dallas, TX; and three step-sons; as well as many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Nancy in 1982 and his brother, David in 1991.
Visitation will be held on Friday, November 2, 2012, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Lenmark Gomsrud Linn Funeral Home, 814 First Avenue, Eau Claire. Requiem Eucharist will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 510 South Farwell Street, Eau Claire, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, with The Rt. Rev. William Wantland and the Very Rev. Michael Green officiating. Visitation will also be one hour prior to Mass at church. Interment will be at the St. Paul’s Church Columbarium, 265 Lafayette Street, Winona, MN, on Monday, November 5, at 10:00 a.m.
Louis James Wilson