Charles Leon Wilson III passed away at home with his family, Sunday morning, August 30, 2015 from a brain tumor he courageously fought for over 2 years. Leon was 60 years young.
Born January 27, 1955 in Robersonville he was the son of Doris Little Wilson and Charles Leon Wilson, Jr. His early years were spent in Robersonville, leaving to attend college in Chapel Hill. He graduated from UNC in May 1977 with a B.S. in Business Administration and started his career with Branch Banking and Trust a few weeks later. His work began in Wilson as a Management Associate but from 1979 to 1982 he left Wilson to serve as a commercial lender and city executive in Plymouth and Tarboro. Marrying his high school sweetheart, Emma Jean Vanderford in 1979, they returned to Wilson to settle down in 1982 when Leon was named Bank Operations Manager. Leon and Emma Jean raised three wonderful sons, whom they both adored. They all shared a love of the beach and fishing and spent many happy days in Atlantic Beach out on his boat ‘BankRoll’.
Leon’s time with BB&T saw many changes in the financial world and the growth of what had been a quiet regional bank into one of the largest and most respected in the country. Never seeking attention, nor enjoying accolades, he preferred having the impact of his work fly ‘under the radar’. Fully aware that the work of Operations significantly touched every client of the bank, he understood that most people had no real understanding of what he did, and that suited him fine. At the time of his diagnosis, he had been an integral part of Executive Management for over fifteen years, serving the bank as Senior Executive Vice President and Operations Division Manager. He worked for BB&T for over thirty-eight years.
Leon’s success in his work was second to his success as a person. He was genuinely interested in all people and was very appreciative of others and their talents, knowing that everyone was a part of his success. He always wanted to know how he could help someone else. “What can I do for you?” Kind, patient, thoughtful but with a quick, dry sense of humor, there was always a twinkle in his eyes. He led quietly by example with always a word of support. A man of few words, when he spoke you listened, knowing that always those words had been chosen carefully. And the wisdom in his thoughts and words were always worth holding on to. He served tirelessly on boards, professional and personal, large and small, with leaders well-known and not so, putting his stamp on many projects and people. But through it all, he remained a small town guy. He was happy to have a big town impact, but happy to do it quietly.
Leon was preceded in death by his wife of thirty-four years, Emma Jean Vanderford Wilson; his parents, and his youngest sister, Ann.
He is survived by his sons, Charles Leon Wilson, IV and his wife, Anna Marshall of Raleigh, Louis V Wilson and his fiancée, Jennifer Price of Sims, and Robert B Wilson and his fiancée, Sarabeth Moore of Raleigh; as well as a precious new grandson, Charles Leon Wilson, V. He is also survived by his brother Matt and his wife, Fran of Raleigh, his sister Dee Loop and her husband, David of Jacksonville, Florida; sister and brother-in-law Kathy and James Roberson of Burlington, sister and brother-in-law Addie Lou and Robbie Leggett of Robersonville, as well as his mother-in-law, Ella Louise Vanderford of Robersonville and many loving nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, September, 2, at the First United Methodist Church, 100 W. Green Street, Wilson. A graveside service will be conducted at 11 a.m. in the Robersonville Cemetery, Hwy 64W, Robersonville. The Rev. Bob Bergland will officiate.
The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6-8 at Joyner’s Funeral Home, 4100 Raleigh Road Parkway, and other times at the home.
The family would like to acknowledge the tender care of the Brentwood HomeCare Agency, especially Laurie Strickland, Tiffany Artis, Liz Barnes, Rose Crowder, Barbara Hall, and Tiwana Horne.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, PO Box 1423, Wilson, NC 27894, the United Way of Wilson, 509 West Nash Street NW, Wilson, NC 27893, the Boy Scouts of East Carolina Council, P.O. Box 1698 Kinston, NC 27803 or the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710.
Condolences may be directed to www.joyners.net