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Louis  Dean "Lou"  Wilson

Obituary for Louis Dean "Lou" Wilson

December 16, 1930 - December 25, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 89


Louis Dean "Lou" Wilson, age 89, passed away on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas with his beloved wife Joan and son Alan by his side. He was born in Lenora, Kansas on December 16, 1930 to William and Thelma (Dolph) Wilson.

Lou is the quintessential American success story. This story begins on a family trip to his home town of Lenora and him describing daily life on a rural Kansas farm to his grandchildren David and Jennifer. He told them he slept on a mattress stuffed with corn husks, and he went to bed early not because he was told to, but because the house got cold when the sun set. Needless to say, like most on rural farms in the 30's and 40's, he and his family didn't have much.

Determined to succeed, Lou went to his beloved Kansa State where he received an engineering degree in "Flour Milling Technology" in 1953. He put himself through college by riding a wheat harvesting combine in the summers as part of a crew called "Hickerts' Happy Harvesters." Military service called during college. He joined the ROTC and upon graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. It was during his two years active duty service, he met the former Joan Melvin Kerr whom he wed in 1956 and was the love of his life for 63 years. Thankfully, according to Joan, upon leaving the Army there was not enough technology or job opportunities in flour milling business, so he answered an advertisement for an aerospace engineering job in sunny California. Eventually, he became employee number 64 at Aerojet General Corp, in Rancho Cordova, CA.

At Aerojet, he found his niche. He helped design the liquid rocket engine powering the TITAN Intercontinental ballistic missile. The LR-87 rocket engine was the backbone of the US space program and was in continuous use from 1959 to 2005. The LR-87 powered astronauts in the GEMINI program, as well as numerous defense, communication and weather satellites into orbit. For his efforts, he received NASA's Public Service Award, NASA's highest recognition for service to the space industry, and was eventually promoted to Vice President of Aerojet's Liquid Rocket Corporation.

Lou left the aerospace industry at the end of the Apollo space program to pursue a second career as an entrepreneur. He successfully ran three businesses in the automotive service industry: DriveLine Service INC., Axiline INC. and Precision Industries.

Lou was a family man at heart. He and Joan raised their two wonderful sons Dean and Alan. Serving as a Little League coach and a term as the PTA President, Lou was an involved loving father and husband. Both Dean and Alan eventually followed his calling for military service and each has pursued a successful career in aviation. With an ever expanding circle of friends, Lou and Joan were at the center of a very active social life. The old neighborhood must still be talking about some of the epic parties they hosted.

Fully retired in 1998, Lou and Joan settled in San Antonio Texas. They became active members of the ABIDING PRESENCE LUTHERAN CHURCH. Lou had a big heart and was called to serve his community. He started by becoming a member of the "Thursday Crew" helping to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. The "Thursday Crew" became the "Good Samaritans," using their building skills to take on home improvement projects for donations. The Good Samaritans raised enough money to fund a home for Habitat. Not done yet, he along with other church members started building residential handicapped access ramps as part of the Texas Ramp Project. When he passed the responsibilities onto those more physically capable of performing the work, he and the Abiding Presence crew had built nearly a hundred ramps. To date, the Texas Ramp Project has built over 17,000 ramps.

Lou always kept his family center stage. He was present at every significant family event and along with Joan hosted many family gatherings in fun locations.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister Bertha Entz, and two infant brothers John Dolph and Gordon Edward. Lou is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan Wilson; son Dean Wilson and wife Debbie, son Alan Wilson; grandchildren, David Wilson (Jessie), Jennifer Bard (Andrew), Jacob Wilson, Alan Michael Wilson and Madeline Wilson; great-grandchildren, Amelia Wilson, Owen Wilson, Oscar Bard and Leo Bard; brother, Wesley Wilson (Ila); sister, Barbara Welch (Dale); many nieces and nephews.

A man of God, loving father and husband, called to serve his community, we miss him dearly.

11:00 A.M.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Texas Ramp Project or Habitat for Humanity.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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