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Legendary Athletics Trainer Tom Wilson Passes Away Friday

Tom Wilson (1927-2012)
FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
updated 2:10 p.m., Sept. 4
• Funeral arrangements for long-time Athletics Trainer Tom Wilson have been set.
• Visitation from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home (6900 Lawndale St., Houston, 77023)
• Funeral services at 10 a.m., Thursday, at First United Methodist Church (1062 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena, TX 77504)

Aug. 31, 2012

HOUSTON - Tom Wilson, who served thousands of University of Houston student-athletes as head athletics trainer through five decades, passed away quietly at his home Friday afternoon. He was 85 years old.

Wilson was one of the early pioneers of Houston Athletics, leading the program's athletics training staff from 1953 to 1993. A colorful character who proudly displayed Cougar championship rings on both hands, he worked with countless All-America student-athletes and was the architect of Houston's legendary annual football conditioning program, nicknamed "Camp Fun".

"As one of the early pioneers in the history of our Athletics Department, Tom Wilson was a leader and mentor to countless young men and women during his career," Vice President for Intercollegiate Mack Rhoades said. "It didn't take long for anyone who spoke with Tom to both see and hear how proud he was to be a Cougar throughout his life. I know I speak for everyone in the Houston Athletics family when I say we are truly saddened by the loss of this great man and send our thoughts and prayers to Charlotte, their family and friends."

Wilson was inducted into the National Athletics Trainers Hall of Fame in 1978. However, that was just one of countless awards during his career. He was named the National Trainer of the Year in 1975 and was appointed by then-Gov. Bill Clements to the Texas Advisory Board of Athletics from 1989 to 1995.

He received the C.F. McElhinney Distinguished Service Award from the University of Houston in 1991 and saw Oct. 7, 1997, proclaimed Tom Wilson Day by the city of Houston in his honor. He retired in 1993 after 40 years of service to the University. In 2000, he received the highest honor from Houston Athletics when he was inducted into the department's Hall of Honor.

Wilson is survived by his wife of 58 years, Charlotte Brazil Wilson, and their three sons and their wives: Tommy and Dayna Wilson, Stuart and Theresa Wilson, Rodney and Kimberly Wilson. He also is survived by his beloved grandchildren: Brandon, Stuart (Jr.), Alexandria, Hannah and Faith Wilson; Kahlise and Korey Arista; Brandon and Cameron Hurley; and by his brother Mike Wilson and wife Amelia.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Dewey Wilson, Sr., and Mildred Wilson, and brother and sister-in-law Bill and Elinor Wilson.

Playing sports as a young man, Wilson was a promising athlete before breaking his leg in a football scrimmage when he was 15 years old. After his cast was applied too tightly to allow for swelling, gangrene set in, requiring amputation of his leg.

However, that physical setback did not diminish the spirit of Wilson, who continued to compete as a talented bull rider and amateur boxer. In 1951, he won the East Texas AAU Featherweight Boxing championship with a 24-4-1 record.

Completing his bachelor's degree in physical education at Stephen F. Austin, Wilson became an athletic trainer at the University of Texas and moved to the University of Houston in 1953.

Wilson was a member of First United Methodist Church of Pasadena where he attended the Friendship Class and joined a choral group that ministered to area nursing homes, singing hymns and inspiration songs. He also participated in Little League when his sons were young and again with his grandchildren and was an avid hunter and fisherman.

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