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John E. Wilson

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Information about John E. Wilson

Profile image of John E. Wilson

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Accountant

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Tan
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
I Will Never Leave You. I Will Never Forsake You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/9/1932
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Accountant

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Tan
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
I Will Never Leave You. I Will Never Forsake You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/9/1932
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how John E. Wilson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

John Ethelbert Wilson was a business executive and accountant. Known by his friends and family as Big John, Wilson was born on December 9, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois, to Carrie Simpson Wilson and Leroy Wilson. Among members of Wilson’s extended family were his uncle, Arthur Jewell Wilson, the first African American certified public accountant in Illinois, and his grandmother, Dora McDermott, a building owner and manager with property in Chicago’s Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard. Wilson grew up in the Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard area, and attended Wendell Phillips Elementary and High School, which counted amongst its alumni members of the original Harlem Globetrotters, Nat "King" Cole, Dinah Washington, and John H. Johnson.

Wilson went on from Wendell Phillips High School to Northwestern University’s School of Commerce, where he received his B.S. degree in 1954, and was the first African American to graduate from the program. Following college, Wilson served in the United States Navy from 1955 to 1957, returning to Chicago to work for his uncle from 1957 to 1963. It was during this period that Wilson married Velma Brown in 1960; they subsequently had two children, Ginger and Kelly.

In 1963, Wilson was hired by the State of Illinois Commerce Commission as an auditor. From there, Wilson went to work at Bowey's, Inc., as general accountant in 1964. Wilson became a certified public accountant in 1965, and became Capitol Food Industries, Inc.’s treasurer and Bates Packaging Company’s controller in 1969. Wilson also served as the president of John E. Wilson, Ltd., and assistant treasurer of the Public Building Commission of Chicago.

In addition to these responsibilities, Wilson was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants; the National Association of Minority Certified Public Accountants; Kappa Alpha Psi; Sigma Pi Phi; and Trinity United Church of Christ. He was awarded with the Alumni National Award in 1996.

John Wilson passed away on October 16, 2013.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John E. Wilson' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson recalls his inspiration to become an accountant
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers his paternal grandmother, Dora McDermott
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson describes his mother's personality and his likeness to her
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes his childhood jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson remembers being mugged as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson describes his childhood personality and influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes the influence of church on his life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson remembers Chicago's Wendell Phillips Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson remembers classmates at Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers playing basketball at Wendell Phillips High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson recalls his time at Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes choosing Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John E. Wilson describes housing at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson describes his social life at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson remembers studying accounting at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson recalls racism in accounting firms and at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson remembers his professors and graduating from Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson recalls his time in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson recalls his time in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers his work as an auditor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson describes his wife, Velma Brown Wilson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson remembers working at Capital Food Industries, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson describes his accounting firms
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson describes competition in accounting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson talks about volunteering
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes good accounting practices
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson talks about his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes his organizational affiliations and how he hopes to be remembered