Thomas George Wilson, a Durhamite since 1959, died peacefully on Feb 25, 2017, surrounded by four generations of family. Tom was 91 years old. Many thanks to the professional, loving, exceptional caregivers at The Forest at Duke Retirement Community.
Tom was a proud Eagle Scout and WW II Army veteran. He earned Bachelor, Masters, and PhD degrees at Harvard University, and on Sept 3, 1949, married Nancy Lane at Harvard’s Memorial Church. Tom worked as an engineer for ten years before joining the faculty at Duke University in Electrical Engineering, where for 35 years he demanded much of his students, and much of himself in support of his students.
Tom was a pioneering researcher in the field of power electronics. With colleague Harry Owen, Tom taught, supervised, advised and graduated 38 Masters and PhD students. With his first PhD student, Towson Moore, Tom co-founded Wilmore Electronics, in Hillsborough, NC, where Tom worked part time for 52 years. Tom was instrumental in the formation of the IEEE Power Electronics Society.
A committed Christian, Tom was active at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church as deacon, elder, and avid supporter of Boy Scout Troop 412. Tom was also active at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church for many years, where he served as elder.
Tom was an openhearted, enthusiastic, welcoming, upbeat gentleman who enjoyed his many friends, neighbors, co-workers, and colleagues in Durham, Hillsborough, and around the world. Tom particularly treasured summer vacations on Mount Desert Island, Maine, surrounded by family and Acadia National Park. At Echo Lake Camp he served as hike leader for many years, bringing to that job his customary conscientiousness, as well as an endearing goofiness, which children and parents loved.
Tom is survived by his wife, Nancy; their three sons, Tom Jr., Rick and Andy (and wives, Jane, Suzanne, and Phyllis); two foster sons, Linh and Tien (and wives Dang and Linh); five grandchildren, John, Erin, Shannon, Jennifer, and Patrick; two great grandchildren, Madelyn and Eric; and a large, loving, extended Vietnamese foster family.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, Mar 4, 1:00 pm, at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1902 Perry St, Durham, followed by a reception from 2:30 to 4:00 pm, at The Forest At Duke Retirement Community, 2701 Pickett Rd, Durham. A viewing will be held Friday, Mar 3, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, at the Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 W. Main Street, Durham. Tom’s remains will be interred at Southwest Harbor, Maine.
Donations may be sent in Tom’s memory to American Red Cross or Durham Rescue Mission. Flowers may be sent to Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham, N.C.