New Albany, MS– Watch him move, or talk with him long enough to experience how his mind works, and you’ll guess he’s maybe 60 years old at most.
Actually, he is 80 years old today. He still moves very quickly and thinks even faster.
Joe Wilson was born to Sam and Julia Wilson in New Albany, November 29, 1936, at New Albany Hospital, currently the site of the Masonic Lodge, on Main Street.
He bought his first automobile, a used Model A Ford, with money he earned delivering the Memphis Press-Scimitar, while still a student at the New Albany High School. He also worked at the Dairy Dream, then located on Bankhead Street, near the current site of Henson Distributing Company.
While enrolled at Northeast Mississippi Junior College, he married his wife, Greta, who grew up on Davis Road in New Albany. “We eloped,” he says. They married on April 27, 1956, and have been married for sixty years.
Joe Wilson was working as a projectionist at the Union Drive-In Theater when they married. He became manager of the drive-in theater and also of the Magnolia Theater, both owned by a man named David Flexer. Flexer later became wealthy as the developer of the system first used by major commercial airlines for in-flight movies. He worked for Flexer for ten years.
Joe went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in New Albany in 1966. He was a city mail carrier, a postal clerk and was working in maintenance when he retired from the post office in 1992. Included here is a photograph, taken the day Joe Wilson was born, of the then “new” post office, under construction across from the Union County Courthouse.
While working full-time, and for ten more years after retiring from the postal service, Joe also served as a volunteer fireman with the New Albany Fire Department. He was a volunteer fireman 1962 – 1981, and again 1996 – 2006, a total of almost 40 years. (See the SPOTLIGHT photo of 1963 firemen on Homepage.)
During their 60 years together, Joe and Greta Wilson have traveled by RV all over the continent.”We’ve been through four trailers and a motor home,” he says. “We’ve traveled the entire United States — Yellowstone, Disney World, the Smokey Mountains.” Their RV is still used regularly for trips to nearby camping spots and to the Gulf Coast.
During the 20 months we’ve been operating NAnewsweb.com, Joe Wilson has been our most reliable news source. Joe is connected. He keeps up with all the news — local, national and world news — on the Internet. He has five scanners on which he monitors all the emergency channels. He maintains a regular email correspondence with dozens of people.
Joe and Greta Wilson have a son, Tommy, and daughter-in-law, Cindy, and two grandchildren – Luke Wilson, who is service manager at Barnes Crossing Chevrolet, and Jody, who is married to a neurosurgeon and lives in Memphis. Joe and Greta Wilson also have literally hundreds of friends.
One more thing about Joe Wilson, a fact that may say as much about him as all we’ve said here: He is a two-time cancer survivor, having whipped both melanoma and prostate cancer.
And he’s still running full speed. Happy birthday, Joe.