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William R. Wilson

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre, Australia.

Wilson, William Richard Humberstone (1907–1988)

By Donald Richard Wilson

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Donald Richard Wilson, MBBS (Sydney University, Australia), trained in general surgery in Australia and England, then specialized in cardiac surgery at Loma Linda University, CA, USA. Qualifications include FRACS, FRCS Eng., FACS, and American Board Certification. Dr. Wilson practiced cardiac surgery at St. Helena Hospital, California for 25 years and now assists with heart surgery in Santa Rosa, CA, and teaches clinical anatomy at 2 medical schools. He is married to Marg and they have 3 sons, 2 daughters, and 13 grandchildren.

William (Bill) Wilson was the longest serving manager of the Church’s Sanitarium Health Food Factory at Cooranbong, occupying that position for almost 30 years. During that time he worked closely with Avondale College and was very involved in community outreach in the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle districts.1

Life and Service

William Richard Humberstone Wilson was born in Melbourne, Australia, on October 31, 1907, the eldest son of William and Grace Wilson.2 His parents became Seventh-day Adventists about 1914.3 After his father lost a leg to trauma, Bill Wilson left school early to help support the family of seven. His siblings were Jim, Jean (Cairns), Dorothea (Armitage), and Ellen (Martin).4

Before attending the Australasian Missionary College (now Avondale College), Wilson worked at the Signs Publishing Company in Warburton, Victoria from 1922-1923.5 He attended Australasian Missionary College from 1928 until 1931. While there as a student, he worked in the Avondale Press.6 He graduated from the business course in 1931 and entered life-long employment with the Sanitarium Health Food Company (SHF).7 His first appointment was to the SHF Depot in Sydney from October 19, 1931 until April 2, 1934.8 He then transferred to New Zealand to be the assistant accountant for the company in Auckland until October 5, 1938.9 During this time he courted office secretary Daisy Eleanor Wright who had been born in Auckland on September 13, 1912.10 Wilson and Daisy Wright were married on February 4, 1937.11 One year later their only child, Donald Richard, was born in Auckland.12

In 1938, the family transferred to the Christchurch, New Zealand, factory, but within a year, Wilson was promoted to assistant manager of the company’s largest factory at Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia.13 In 1944, he was promoted to full manager,14 a position he held until his retirement in 1970.15

Community Involvement

During the Cooranbong years, in addition to his leadership at the food factory, Wilson was heavily involved with Avondale College as faculty member teaching first aid classes, serving on both the college and church boards, and serving as a church elder.16 He assisted approximately 2000 college students who obtained employment at the factory, thus providing financial support.17

Wilson was also active in the community. He was elected for four three-year terms as councilor (alderman) on the Lake Macquarie Shire (now city) council. His first achievement as councilor was to get the corrugated gravel roads between Morisset, Cooranbong, and Dora Creek bitumen-sealed. He was the first Seventh-day Adventist to represent the Cooranbong, Morisset, Dora Creek, and Toronto districts at local government level. For two years he was elected chairman of the Shortland County council, which provided electricity to the city of Newcastle and surrounding towns and districts. He was a life governor of the Royal Newcastle Hospital and a charter member (and Paul Harris Fellow) of the Morisset Rotary Club.18

Later Years

Wilson and his wife Daisy retired in their home at Red Hill, Cooranbong, and later moved to a unit at Kressville Adventist Retirement Village, Cooranbong. Wilson died on July 31, 1988, in the Charles Harrison Nursing Home, Cooranbong, at the age of 79.19

Sources

Beamish, J. N. “William Richard Wilson obituary.” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988.

Beamish, James. “Life Sketch, William Richard Wilson.” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988.

William Richard Wilson Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Notes

  1. Some details in this biography are written from the personal knowledge of the author, the only son of Bill and Daisy Wilson.

  2. James Beamish, “Life Sketch, William Richard Wilson,” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988, 14.

  3. William Richard Wilson Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Wilson, William Richard,” document: “Wilson, William Richard.”

  4. James Beamish, “Life Sketch, William Richard Wilson,” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988, 14

  5. William Richard Wilson Biographical Records South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Wilson, William Richard,” document: “Biographical Information Blank, 1949.”

  6. Ibid.

  7. James Beamish, “Life Sketch, William Richard Wilson,” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988, 14.

  8. William Richard Wilson Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Wilson, William Richard,” document: “Wilson, William Richard.”

  9. Ibid.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Donald Wilson, personal knowledge as the son of Bill and Daisy Wilson.

  12. William Richard Wilson Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Wilson, William Richard,” document: “Biographical Information Blank, 1949.”

  13. William Richard Wilson Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Wilson, William Richard,” document: “Wilson, William Richard.”

  14. Ibid.

  15. James Beamish, “Life Sketch, William Richard Wilson,” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988, 14.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Donald Wilson, personal knowledge as the son of Bill and Daisy Wilson.

  18. Ibid.

  19. J. N. Beamish, “William Richard Wilson obituary,” Record [South Pacific Division], September 17, 1988, 14.

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Wilson, Donald Richard. "Wilson, William Richard Humberstone (1907–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7C17.

Wilson, Donald Richard. "Wilson, William Richard Humberstone (1907–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7C17.

Wilson, Donald Richard (2021, April 28). Wilson, William Richard Humberstone (1907–1988). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7C17.