Marion Joe Wilson
of Navarro County, TX


Biography Index | Obituary Index


Marion Joe Wilson
abt. 1924 - May 26, 1977

JP Joe Wilson missing

Staff Writer

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 Wilson.

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 Home today.


Ruling pending
Joe Wilson found dead

Sun Staff Writer

The 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 search party.

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 months.

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 Oakwood Cemetery.

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 proportion.

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 condemned.”

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
Corsicana, Texas

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, too.”

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.


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Edward L. Williams