By Clint Confehr
COLUMBIA, TN — Dr. Nelson Wilson, a minister at Burns Springs Church of Christ for three decades, died May 12, 2021 at Maury Regional Medical Center. He was 75.
Wilson is remembered for: creating a non-profit group with anger management classes for domestic violence offenders; registering voters; finding resources for people starting businesses; and helping students find ways to pay tuition.
Brother Herb Davis of Newtown Church of Christ, Spring Hill, officiated at Dr. Wilson’s funeral service in the Burns Springs Church of Christ, 407 Smith St., on May 21. Burial was in Polk Memorial Gardens, 6465 Trotwood Ave.
At age 62, Wilson retired from the Tennessee Department of Family and Children’s Services. He was a professor at American Baptist College and its vice president of administrative affairs, recruiting students and developing scholarships when Odell McGlothian Sr. and, subsequently, Bernard Lafayette were president of American Baptist Theological Seminary. Wilson’s assignments at the college included lecture series and other programs. He also taught at Tennessee State and Fisk universities in an adjunct capacity.
In conjunction with Lafayette and C.T. Vivian, both civil rights icons, Wilson helped organize educational tours and re-enactments of Bloody Sunday’s Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing in Selma, Ala., for students and others interested in America’s civil rights history.
Wilson’s bachelors of theology is from American Baptist College; his masters of counseling from TSU, and his doctorate in ministry is from the University of America, Miami, Fla.
Wilson is remembered as a thoughtful speaker. During a senior citizens’ banquet in Broadway (now Glass) Street Church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, he was asked to recall his ties to civil rights icons including Martin Luther King, Diane Nash, James Lawson, Bernard and Vivian. Wilson replied and resumed his remarks honoring seniors.
Born June 20, 1945 in Memphis, Wilson was a son of Nellie and Nelson Wilson Sr. Dr. Nelson Wilson Jr. is survived by: his wife of 40 years, Donna Wilson; daughters Deborah Wilson and Nicole DeClouet; and a son, Darrell Wilson. The Wilsons’ home is in Columbia. Wilson is also survived by brothers Larry, Vinson and Wendell Wilson, all of Memphis; and sisters Betty Metellus and Lynn Wilson, both of Memphis.
V.K. Ryan & Son Funeral Home, 300 7th St., handled the arrangements.
Derric Porter, a member of the church, reports that on June 23 Wilson would have been celebrating his 30th anniversary of serving the Burns Springs Church of Christ congregation of 75 souls who worship in their sanctuary built nearly a century ago.