Marion Joe Wilson
abt. 1924 - May 26, 1977
JP Joe Wilson missing
By PETE THADDEUS
A massive ground-air search has been underway since 11 p.m. Thursday for missing
Peace Justice Joe Wilson.
According to Sheriff Jerry Shelton, Wilson has been missing from his home since
6 p.m. Thursday when he told his wife he was going fishing.
As of press time today the search, led by Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Hodge, has
concentrated in an bounded by Highway 22 on the north, Highway 31 on the south
and Memorial Hospital on the east.
ACCORDING to Deputy Sheriff Bob Rehders a note was found near the Corsicana
State Home that the sheriff’s department believes might have been written by
The note, which deputies believe was intended for Wilson’s wife, said “Honey,
I’m sorry. Do what you want with the stuff. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t be
a politician and learn this job, too.”
Wilson was elected Justice of the peace in November and took office January 1.
ASSISTING in the search has been close to 50 students from Corsicana High
School’s Outdoor Education Classes and the teacher, John Fortner.
A Department of Public Safety helicopter from Waco has aided the search also.
According to deputies, Wilson supposedly wrote a letter of resignation last week
and intended to resign. However, deputies said, his lawyer talked him out of it.
Hodge said that Wilson’s wife said he left home with a fishing rod and possibly
a gun. He said deputies had not determined if Wilson actually had a gun, but a
gun is missing from the Wilson home.
AROUND 10 A.M. Hodge said he located a rod and reel at the lake behind the Odd
Fellows Home, but Wilson’s son and daughter said it was not the one their father
left home with.
As of 11:30 a. M. Friday the search continues in an area behind the state home.
Hodge says that the Police Reserves will also drag a lake behind the Odd Fellows
Joe Wilson found dead
By PETE THADDEUS
Sun Staff Writer
body of Justice of the Peace Joe Wilson was found Friday around 1:30
p.m. near the Youth Exposition Center on FM 744 by a member of the
According to Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Hodge, Sheriff’s Deputies Bob
Rehders and Grady McCall were next on the scene. Wilson was found face
down shot through the mouth in a culvert under an abandoned railroad
embankment about half a mile from the rodeo arena.
Peace Justice G. W. O’Neal ruled death by gunshot. O’Neal said a further
ruling is pending an examination.
WILSON’S FEET WERE CROSSED and his cigarettes and glasses were on the
ground next to the body.
The search for Wilson began Thursday around 11 p.m. after he failed to
return home. Sheriff Jerry Shelton said Wilson had left home around 6
p.m. Thursday telling his family he was going fishing.
Most of the search concentrated in an area around the Odd Fellows Home
and behind the Corsicana State Home. High school students from the
Outdoor Education classes and a helicopter from the Department of Public
Safety in Waco aided sheriff’s deputies, police and highway patrolmen
throughout the morning.
ACCORDING TO DEPUTIES, a note said he couldn’t “take it anymore” and “I
can’t be a politician and learn this job too.”
Deputies also said that Wilson had attempted to resign last week but had
been talked out of it by his lawyer. Wilson has been in office only five
County Judge Rob Dunn and Commissioners R. J. Henderson, Billy Hargrove
and Clint Bell met Friday around 2 p.m. in Henderson’s office at the
courthouse to discuss the filling of the vacancy. Commissioner Thomas
Dyer did not participate in the impromptu meeting called by Dunn.
Dunn said he felt it would not be appropriate to begin consideration of
a replacement until after Wilson’s funeral. The Commissioner agreed not
to put the subject on the Wednesday agenda of the Commissioners Court.
However they did not set a date to fill the vacancy.
FUNERAL SERVICES for Wilson, 53, are to be today at 2 p.m. in the Corley
Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. David Hale and Rev. Leroy Reaves
officiating. Burial will be in
He was a veteran of World War 11 and Korea, and was a member of the
Northside Baptist Church. He was a native of Corsicana.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Joe Wilson of Corsicana; five
daughters, Mrs. Gliria Jean Springer of Eatontown, N.J., Mrs. Jimmy Ray
Lawyer of Baltimore, Md., Mrs. Susan Farmer, Mrs. Margaret Lattner and
Miss Debbie Ball all of Corsicana; two sons Byron Ball and Michael Ball,
both of Corsicana; two grandchildren; his mother, Mrs. W. E. Wilson of
Corsicana; four brothers, Marvin Lee Wilson and Raymond Wilson, both of
Mesquite, Richard Wilson of Laplace, La., and William E. Wilson, Jr., of
Halletsville; four sisters, Miss Sue Wilson of Corsicana, Mrs. Mary
Fairity of Jefferson, Mrs. Marie Fuller of Blooming Grove and Mrs.
Calvin D. Jones of Mexia.
Pallbearers are to be Durwood Richards, Danny Richards, Johnny Harper,
Larry Meador, Bosso Harrison and Kyle Harrison.
Letters to the Editor
Mrs. Joe Wilson says thanks
People of Navarro County
I wish that I could write each of you a note of thanks for all the love so many
have shown me and my family through this terrible tragedy.
I would like to say that I know that news is good for a newspaper by why can’t
they tell it as it is, and not exaggerate and blow things so far beyond
Joe’s lawyer didn’t talk him out of resigning. He talked to him and I can’t tell
the conservation word for word because I wasn’t on the telephone. Joe said the
lawyer told him that “if he resigned it would be all over the front page of the
newspaper. He knew that he was a strong enough person to try it for a while
longer that he really hasn’t given it a long enough time to see if he could
learn all there was to learn.” Then Joe called a man he had been talking to
about a job. He told Joe that as of that day he couldn’t give him a job but one
would be available soon. All of this and Joe being the type of man that couldn’t
just sit and do nothing decided that the resignation would have to wait until he
could be assured that the job was available.
The note was written by Joe Wilson and was not found by the State Home but was
found in my dresser drawer. I wish I could be a cruel person and say all the
things that was in the note and tell so many of the things I feel in my heart
that caused this terrible thing to happen in Joe’s life. If I could maybe say
some of the things that will happen tomorrow, next week, and in the future
wouldn’t be done.
Verses 36 and 37 of Matthew chapter 12 “But I say unto you that every idle word
that men shall speak, that shall give account thereof in the day of judgement.
“For by the words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be
I will say this in closing the only good and perfect person in this world died
on the cross of Calvary for our sins, so that through our belief and faith in
him we will have eternal life forever.
Mrs. Joe Wilson
433 North 45 Street
Replacing Judge Wilson
Navarro county residents will be watching county commissioners with interest as
commissioners name a new justice of the peace following the sad and unfortunate
death of Joe Wilson last week.
Wilson had only taken office in January, so the man who replaces him will have
about 1 ½ years to go on his term.
That will put him in office for quite a while. And that means that the very best
man available should be chosen by the commissioners.
This is no time for political cronyism. This should not be used as an
opportunity to reward political favors. Nor should it be a time to add another
political buddy to the entrenched political machine running the courthouse.
The person the commissioners select should be a popular man with county voters.
No one who has constantly been rejected by the voters at the polls should be
considered for the job. To name an appointee whom the voters have consistently
shown they don’t want would be a tragedy. In fact, it would make a mockery of
the whole process.
Justice of the peace is a demanding job. The judge has to be tough with the
people charged who are brought before him and yet he’s also got to be politician
enough to keep his job. A note apparently written by Mr. Wilson seemed to
testify to that fact. It said, “I can’t be a politician and learn this job,
It will take a good man to replace this good man. Navarro commissioners should
look hard enough and thoroughly enough to find that good man.