DARIEN, Conn. – Dr. John M. Wilson Jr., a retired surgeon from Darien, died June 6 at his home. He was 86.
In a medical career that spanned more than 40 years, Wilson previously served as chief of surgery at Norwalk Hospital and as an attending physician at Stamford Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital in Connecticut. He also served as the team physician for the Darien High School varsity football team from 1957 to 1982.
Wilson was born Nov. 10, 1925, in the Bronx. He attended parochial schools and graduated from Fordham Preparatory School at the age of 16. He completed an accelerated pre-medical program at Fordham College and graduated from Cornell Medical School in 1948 at the age of 21.
Growing up, Wilson and his family spent summers in Rowayton. He met Elizabeth Busch Farrell during one of those summers, on a blind date at the age of 16. They married seven years later.
After graduating from medical school, Wilson served a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps Reserves. During the Korean War, he was chief of surgery at the 278th Station Hospital in Berlin, Germany and ward officer at the 95th General Hospital in Munich, Germany.
Following his discharge in 1952, Wilson completed his surgical residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Wilson served as attending surgeon at The Harlem Hospital, before being named director of surgery at Norwalk Hospital in 1969. He was then promoted to chief of surgery in 1972 and assistant chief of staff in 1980.
He received the Norwalk Hospital Department of Surgery Distinguished Service Award in 1990 for his service to the hospital and the surrounding community. Upon his retirement from surgery in 1997, Wilson joined the board of directors of the Norwalk Hospital Foundation. For his service to the board, Wilson received the William J. Tracey, M.D. Award in 2005.
Upon retiring after 41 years of surgery, Wilson said his biggest satisfaction was helping cure cancer patients. Maintaining an active surgical practice, he kept a maximum surgical schedule and extensive office hours and treated all, regardless of ability to pay.
In his retirement, Wilson traveled throughout the world, often with at least one grandchild in tow. Although he wasn't a sports fan, he enjoyed attending any swim meet, football, baseball, basketball, field hockey or hockey game involving a grandchild.
Wilson was a board member of the American Institute of Economic Research and an astute investor. He skied until his early 70s and was an accomplished sailor and avid gardener.
He is survived by two daughters, Mary Moore, of Darien, and Lisa Aulet, of Belmont, Mass.; two sisters, Jean Tharpe, of Wilton and Janet (Sister Stephanie O.S.U.) Wilson, of Bronx, N.Y. and seven grandchildren. Wilson was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth and his only son, John M. Wilson III.
The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Edward Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at noon Saturday at St. John Church in Darien. Burial will follow at St. John Cemetery in Norwalk.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Norwalk Hospital Foundation, 34 Maple St., Norwalk CT 06856, Stamford Hospital Foundation, 1351 Washington Blvd., Stamford CT 06902, or STAR, P.O. Box 470, Norwalk CT 06851.