Ivan D. Wilson, 82, long-time friend, supporter, and civic leader to Columbus County citizens, international business man and serious negotiator, said good-bye to his earthly journey Friday, July 19, 2019 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, N.C. after a short illness while surrounded by his family.
He was born in Watauga County, N.C. on August 26, 1936, the son of Dallas and Lucy Wilson. He attended Bethel High School, graduating as valedictorian and obtained his B.S. in Business Administration from Appalachian State Teachers College. He was a U.S. Army veteran and received one of the highest levels of security clearance when he was appointed to work at the “Little Pentagon” outside Washington D.C. That’s where he met and married the love of his life, Peggy.
Post-graduation, he responded to a newspaper ad concerning a job with Riegel Paper (later to become Federal Paper Board and ultimately International Paper) and thus began a 40 year career in the paper industry. His penchant for hard work, shrewd business acumen, and determination led him on an international journey spanning the United States and several continents. He was vice president and general manager of the Converting and Distribution Division, during which time he built three plants and managed seven others from California to England.
Ivan retired in January of 2000 but continued consulting for International Paper for one year to build a plant in Argentina. Although his professional life consumed much of his time, he was never too busy to help others. He willingly served on the Cape Fear Boy Scouts of America Executive Council, earning the prestigious Silver Beaver Award, B&T Advisory Board, Southeastern Community College Foundation Board (past president), Columbus County Committee of 100 (past vice chairman), and Hallsboro Baptist Church Deacon board (past chairman). Retirement only changed the place he reported to work as Ivan continued to serve through multiple civic and non-profit entities using his brilliant mind for the benefit of others. He joined Baptist Men Ramps and Rails, was a consultant for Council Tool Company, member of the Columbus County Planning board, Habitat for Humanity board of directors, and Kari’s Home for Women, a rehabilitation home for young women. All of these organizations benefited from his work ethic as he labored alongside volunteers building wheelchair ramps and home for Habitat families.
Ivan used his leadership skills as he ran for and was elected to two terms as mayor of Lake Waccamaw. He was always an advocate for creating a better environment for those who follow.
Never having an idle mind nor hands, he applied his work ethic to becoming a winemaker. Ivan and Peggy developed a vineyard using the farmland he was reared on and successfully produced a line of wine under the label of “Raven Rock Vineyards” currently sold in Boone area. When not working as a winemaker, he became a master pen maker, using a router and native wood. Ivan also possessed mechanical talent and could fix just about anything with a motor.
Perhaps his greatest attribute was that of encourager always championing people to do what he knew they were capable of. Generosity was second nature to him and he was the first in line to generously give to organizations, his church, or to others in financial need without seeking recognition. But you better hope you were not on the negotiating end of a deal because he was a serious negotiator!
Ivan is survived by his wife, Margaret (Peggy) Burton Wilson. August 14, 2019 would have been their 62nd anniversary. Leaving to cherish his memory are his sons, Hal Wilson (Lisa) of Raleigh, N.C. and Michael (Laura) of Des Moines, Iowa, four grandchildren: Cameron Wilson, Grant Wilson, Amy Wilson, Brian Wilson, “semi-adopted” Josh Long (Brittany) and one great-granddaughter, Zoe Read. Ivan was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Maude Reese (Clint Reese)
Memorials may be made to Hallsboro Baptist Church, P.O. Box 86, Hallsboro, N.C. 28442.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 23, 2019 from 6-8 p.m. by family and McKenzie Mortuary, Whiteville, N.C. Memorial Service celebrating his life will be held Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Hallsboro Baptist Church, Hallsboro, N.C. with Dr. Scott Lewis, Rev. Tom Canady officiating. Following interment at Lake Waccamaw Hillcrest Cemetery, the family will receive friends and family at a cemetery reception with refreshments and hor d’oeuvres.
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