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1811 NE 16th Ave #A
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-675-3447
Fax: 360-682-2359

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Obituary for Sandy Wilson

Coach Sandy Wilson

Sandy Nelson Wilson passed away peacefully on September 20, 2018 in Port Orchard, Washington. Born December 18, 1930 in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Canton, Ohio.

Sandy is survived by his wife of 61 years Valera Wilson and 3 children Gregg (Amy), Jeff, Marc (Joni), grandchildren JJ, Mitchell, Amy Jo, Maggie and Brian, great grandchildren Alexis, JR, Brayden, Isabelle, Grayson and Quinn. Brother-in-laws James (India) Manwaring, James Jokie and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by parents Claude Wilson, Ruth (Reginald) Parr, Aunt Nell Jones, Aunt Pat (Fred) Ozenne, Father-in-law Commander Frank Screws (Ret. Navy), Mother-in-law Edna Screws, Brother-in-law Trojan Screws and Sister-in-law Judi Joki.

Sandy attended Canton McKinley High School where he excelled on the swimming team from 1945-48. Encouraged by his good friend Alex Steve, Sandy attended Ohio University and continued to excel in swimming from 1949-52. After graduating from Ohio University, he went on to Bowling Green State University where he received his Master’s of Science and Education degree in 1954.

Sandy proudly served in the United States Navy from 1955-57 and was stationed at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. This is where he met and fell deeply in love with Valera Screws and they were married July 13, 1957 at the Navy Chapel. They moved to Toledo, Ohio where their 3 sons, Gregg, Jeff and Marc, were born. During those years he coached age group swimming at the Toledo Club and taught Junior High School Science. He also served as Ohio AAU swimming chairman from 1958-61. The family moved to Berea, Ohio when Sandy took the head swimming coach position at Berea High School, guiding the swimming program for 4 successful years.

Sandy was hired at Ashland (College) University as the first head swimming coach and Aquatic Director for its inaugural swimming program in 1967. This was the beginning for his 30 year college teaching and coaching career. During this time he turned out a phenomenal 30 different All Americans and 3 different National Champions. The Ashland Eagles also dominated the Penn-Ohio Championships during most of those years. Professor Wilson taught a variety of classes at Ashland such as, Science, Kinesiology, Racquetball, and Golf.

Coach Wilson was recognized and inducted into multiple Hall of Fames including Berea High School, Canton Aquatics Association, and Ashland University. In addition, he was very involved with the National YMCA swimming program including being the Honorary Head Starter for the National Swimming Finals for several years. As the founding father of the Ashland University's swimming program and swimming coach, Sandy was honored on campus May 14, 2012 with a luncheon and dedication of the "Sandy Wilson Locker Room" located inside the Recreation Center. Quote from luncheon: "I wish that all the young people can have the opportunities I had, to have such a good experience that you can't wait to get up to go to work. There's never been a day in my life that I didn't want to get up and go to work".

Sandy loved the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the young men and women through his teaching and coaching but his true love was spending time with Val and the kids. Summer vacations were filled with travel, like the many cross country camping trips from Ohio to the Pacific Northwest as well as fresh water fishing vacations to Wisconsin. Weekend getaways to Mohican State Park and Cedar Point amusement park were always on the agenda. The family spent many Christmas vacations and spring breaks on the beaches in Florida. He enjoyed coaching his sons in swimming and Little League baseball as well, and as a teacher, he took a keen interest in their education. He was proud of the career decisions they made, including their Navy service.

But what delighted Sandy the most was spending time with the crown jewel of his life ~ Val. Whether it was dancing to country music, eating out with friends, or taking part in one of the many facility functions at the university, he loved spending time with his bride. He loved her more than anything and this was clear to anyone who spent time with them.
Following retirement from Ashland University with Emeritus Faculty status, Sandy and Val moved to Oak Harbor Washington where they lived until just prior to his passing.

A visitation for Sandy will be held on October 1st from 3-5pm. Memorial Services will be held October 2nd, 1pm with reception to follow. All services will be held at Wallin Funeral Home 1811 NE 16th Ave Oak Harbor.

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