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Frederick Marlin Wilson, 85, passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018 in Arlington.
Memorial Service: 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 9, at First Baptist Church, 301 S. Center St., Arlington. Visitation: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, August 8, at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington.
Memorials: Memorial gifts may be made to Mission Arlington.
Wilson was born in 1932 in a cabin north of Nocona, Texas at historic Red River Station, where the famous Chisholm Trail crossed Red River. He spent his first 18 years on the family ranch there. He was a graduate of Prairie Valley High School near Nocona and received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts degree from North Texas State College. After college, Wilson served in the Army as a radar operator and supply specialist on Wolmi-Do Island, off-shore of Inchon, Korea. He was honored there in December 1955 as Soldier of the Month.
In 1956, General Motors Corporation in Arlington, Texas hired Wilson to head their Plant Engineering Department. He met and married Nancy Lee Crookshank, a teacher in Arlington ISD, in 1958. He spent 28 years with General Motors and was put on a task force special assignment his last six years to handle major plant expansions and process changes for new car lines for GM’s Texas plant. In 1969, he left GM to become Plant Engineer for the Kinetics International Division of LTV Corporation in Tyler, Texas. The plant made all-terrain vehicles, and Wilson managed facilities, tooling and prototype development. In 1970, he accepted the position of Plant Engineer for the Arbrook Division of Johnson & Johnson in Arlington. He helped develop many medical products and manufacturing processes.
His medical interest led to his conceiving and patenting a unique design for a totally implantable, artificial human heart. The design featured through-the-skin power induction and transcutaneous binary encoding for controlling heart rate and pumping action. The new design drew the attention of Dr. Michael DeBakey and major medical organizations, including Baylor Medical, Texas Heart Institute, and University of Utah, where the Jarvik 7 heart was developed. The organizations determined the design merited scientific research, but a reduction in government funding due to previous failures in artificial heart development created difficulty obtaining FDA approval.
Wilson was active in his church, the community and professional organizations. He was a deacon at Fielder Road Baptist Church for over 30 years and a Gideon; he also volunteered with Mission Arlington, Big Brothers organization and Junior Achievement. He was a member of the General Motors Retirees club, a former director of the Sons of the American Revolution and a vice president and board member of Lakewood Addition Homeowners Association.
Professionally, he was a member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Institute of Plant Engineers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Robotics International of SME, and Texas Watch. He held professional certifications in three fields of engineering and a Texas teaching certificate. He enjoyed designing homes and did so for many of his friends and coworkers.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Frederick and Maybelle Wilson and sister, Helen Gardener.
Survivors: He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Nancy Crookshank Wilson; three children, Catherine Gilkey, Janet Mason and Thomas Wilson; eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren as well as his brother, Howard Wilson.
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