The Pin Oak lost its most loyal customer on Monday, March 15, 2021. Richard “Rick” Earl Wilson (also known as “Rev. Rick”), 69, of Carterville, passed away at his home, surrounded by his family, following a brief but courageous battle with A.L.S.
Rick was born April 7, 1951, in Galesburg, Illinois, to Kenneth and Betty Wilson. Even though his dad taught him everything he knew about fixing and building things, it isn’t clear who he inherited his ability to drink beer from. We do know he was darn near close to setting the record for most beers drank in a day.
He graduated from Galesburg Senior High School in 1969. He loved to remind everyone of the year he graduated so it comes as no coincidence he died at the age of 69. He attended Knox College and graduated in 1973 with a degree in Economics with a minor in beer drinking.
He became the “luckiest man in the world” on June 28, 1980, when he married the love of his life Jean Ann Hollingsworth, in Galesburg. She put up with his dirty joke telling, iTunes obsession and beach naps for 40 long years.
He was most proud of his only daughter, who he referred to as his “miracle baby”. Rick loved to embarrass her by telling everyone he met about all of her accomplishments. Or maybe the embarrassing part was when he slipped in his dirty jokes.
Rick dedicated 33 years of his life working for Maytag in both Galesburg and Herrin, Illinois. He had a heart for the people that worked for him and truly loved serving as Director of Manufacturing before he retired in 2004.
Although, “retire” seems like the wrong word since his daughter quickly put him to work on her thousands of DIY projects. Luckily, he was able to teach her everything his dad taught him. She will continue to hoard lots of extra lumber in her garage just in case she gets an idea to build something… all in memory of her father.
He lived with the mentality “work hard, play hard” and loved to unwind by cruising Crab Orchard Lake with his wife. He titled his Monday through Friday lake days “TLE” days - Tan Line Elimination Days. He had many priorities in life, but none greater than making sure he didn’t have tan lines. It was quite possibly a ploy to get Jeanie to join him.
He never met a stranger no matter where he went, but dare speak of being a Cubs fan and you might have quickly become his biggest enemy. He loved country music, but only after marrying Jeanie and following her from gig to gig watching her sing with her band. He was her biggest fan and continued to love listening to her sing “Satin Sheets”.
If you knew “Rev. Rick”, you knew he viewed the number of songs on his iPod as a contest. He had over 26,000 songs just to be clear. Don’t dare try to top him or he’d go home and download a hundred more.
He was known as “Poppy” to his four grandkids (who did not know about TLE days – thank God). They thought the world of Poppy and believed he was a hero for eating a cicada and saying it was better than a cheeseburger. He loved to attend their sporting events while cautiously trying to keep his mouth shut when he didn’t agree with a bad call.
Rick was incredibly grateful to get sixteen amazing years of retirement and good health before learning about his terminal illness. He was determined to not let his diagnosis keep him from having fun. Jeanie was his true hero for all of the love and care she gave him, especially over the last eight months as he started to lose his ability to do all the things he used to.
He attributed his newfound faith to his son-in-law, Jeff, who “bridged the gap” between him and God (his words). He wasn’t a believer for most of his life because he didn’t feel worthy. Or, as he would say, “they won’t let me into heaven”. Thankfully, Jeff was able to show him God’s grace and mercy is for everyone. He gave his family the greatest gift of all by accepting Christ in August 2020. That gift and testimony will live on for generations to come.
He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Jeanie Wilson of Carterville; daughter, Mandy (Jeff) Rose of Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; grandchildren, Parker, Bentley, Sloane, and Nella Rose; sister, Vicki (Pat) Trant of Galesburg; brother, Ron (Sue) Wilson of San Diego, California; aunts, Norma Peck of Galesburg and Helen Shaner of Nebraska; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Betty Wilson and brother, Bob Wilson.
A gathering will begin after 5:00 p.m., Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville. His family asks that you wear St. Louis Cardinals gear or casual attire. COVID restrictions apply and facial coverings must be worn.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in honor of Rick Wilson to A.L.S. Association.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rick Wilson, please visit our floral store.