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Wilson, a Korean War veteran from Glen Cove, will be missed by community

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Vicki Wilson said that her father, Willibe Wilson Jr., saw the good in everyone. “My father never met anyone that he didn’t like,” Wilson said. “There was always something good. Nobody was really bad. If he was your friend, he was your friend to the end.”

At age 91, Willibe Wilson Jr., a longtime Glen Cove resident, Korean War veteran, past commander of the American Legion and an avid bowler died on Sept. 27. He was a longtime devoted companion of Shirley Pinckney; father of Vicki Wilson and the late Deborah Bowden; grandfather of Para (Clare), Wendell, Terah, Kiba, Janai, Portia and Jayden; great-grandfather of Khale, Mackenzie, Denisa, Shanaya, Kenya, Jordan, Amir, Amad, Kniel and Ariya; also survived by his nephews Eric, Darren and Charles.

He was a great dad and grandfather, Vicki Wilson said.

“He was a happy person,” she said. “He was a kind person and a generous person. He was passionate. He always had a smile on his face and everybody that met him and that knew him loved him.”

David Hubbard, the commander of the Young Simmons Post of Glen Cove, called Wilson an excellent individual who dealt with people very well.

“He had a lot of wisdom and he passed it on,” Hubbard said. “He was my commander of the Young Simmons Post in Glen Cove and he was very instrumental in bringing me on board with his knowledge of the American Legion especially and the veterans, veterans organizations and things we can do to benefit the veterans.”

And Wilson was community oriented, Hubbard added. Willibe Wilson Jr. served as chairman of the Children & Youth Committee, hosting an annual luncheon and dance for the children of St. Christopher-Ottillie and the Variety Child Learning Center for more than 20 years.

“Willibe’s great heart, great, great, great heart, was for children with special needs,” said retired U.S. Marine Crops Major Fred Neilson. 

Wilson also served as a Young Simmons Post Commander and a past American Legion 10th District Commander, which includes Suffolk, Nassau and Queens counties.

Additionally, he served as a secretary for the Glen Cove Memorial Day Parade Committee and as a custodian for the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club.

“He was very patient, very easy going,” Nielson said. “He had a very positive disposition and he saw the best in everybody.”

Willibe Wilson Jr. is among the active veterans in the community who died this year, along with WWII veteran Robert O’Neill, 95, and Vietnam War veteran Joseph Tolbert Jr., 70. “It is true that we are in a time when the very few WWII vets and even more, more and more of the Korean War vets are reaching those ages where war would have taken a toll on the body,” Nielson said. “Even for those who returned home reasonably safe, war still costs something in the mind, body and spirit.”

“These are people with whom we had been in community service for decades,” Nielson said. “What the veteran community tends to do as communities is serve. Serve others.”

Wilson loved serving the veteran community and the City of Glen Cove, Vicki Wilson said. “He was born in Glen Cove at the hospital in Glen Cove and he lived here all his life,” she said. “He loved Glen Cove.”

According to Nielson, Wilson parents moved here from the South and helped established the Calvary AME Church.

Rev. A. H. Sparkman of Calvary AME Church said that the church is eternally grateful for the life and legacy of Wilson. “He was a faithful and committed worker who served as an officer in the church and our prayers are with his family at this time of bereavement.”

Wilson was an artillery sergeant in the U.S. Army, past American Legion 10th District Commander and Korean War Veteran Honoree, City of Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said.

“Willibe was always involved with Veterans Affairs, Memorial Day, Veterans Day as well as the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club. He not only represented veterans, but he represented African American veterans and was a beloved and respected member of our community,” Tenke said. “His presence will be sorely missed.”