Provided by the Family
George Wilson was born in Meridian, Mississippi on May 9, 1942; the only son of Mr. George and Lucinda Wilson. He lived part of his elementary years in Los Angeles, California. At the age of 9, he moved to the Westside of Chicago with his mother and stepfather. He credits his introduction and love for basketball to the Westside Boys Club.
Mr. Wilson, popularly known as “Big George” or “Jif,” was educated in the Chicago Public Schools, and graduated from Marshall High School in 1960. While attending Marshall High School, at 6′ 8” tall, he led the Commandos to two state championships (in 1958 and 1960) and was a three-time high school All-American. He received state and national recognition for his basketball prowess. He was featured in Ebony Magazine and received well over 100 nationwide basketball scholarship offers.
He attended the University of Cincinnati (UC), where he graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. He was a member of the Beta Eta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. While attending UC, he was a two-time NCAA All-Tournament team honoree, first in 1962 and again in 1963, as the Bearcats reached the title game for the third-straight season. He was selected as a Second Team All-American in 1963 by Converse and The Sporting News. George was the only UC Bearcat to win both a NCAA Championship (1962) and Olympic Gold Medal Winner (Tokyo 1964).
He was drafted in 1964 by the Cincinnati Royals and also played for the Chicago Bulls, Seattle Supersonics, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, and Buffalo Braves through 1971.
Mr. Wilson was inducted into UC’s Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2006, Wilson was voted as one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament.
He married Sheila Thompson on August 1, 1964. They parented three children; Derek Lamont, Brian Richard, and Ariana Nichelle.
Following his NBA career, Mr. Wilson returned to Cincinnati, where he worked many years at the Citizen’s Committee on Youth (CCY), the YMCA (Melrose and Lincoln Heights), and for the Cincinnati Board of Education.
One of his major achievements while working for CCY was the restoration of the historic landmark Harriet Beecher Stowe House. The project was undertaken primarily by troubled youths, whom he guided, mentored and formed into a strong-bonded team.
He was re-married on May 9, 1992, to Jean McGee on his 50th birthday. They enjoyed 30 years of marriage, which included travel, community, sports and family outings. Worshipping together was an important part of their life.
Mr. Wilson was an avid golfer and was a founding member of the W.E.S.T (Wilson, Evans & Scott Tour) golf club in 1976. He competed in the Senior Olympics in golf, basketball and horseshoes. He was also the author of a children’s book “Mr. Jif’s Adventures.” He was honored to carry the Olympic torch through one leg of its route through the USA. He was also the recipient of several community service awards.
He was a member of the Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Forest Park, Ohio.
Left to cherish his precious memory: his loving wife, Jean; his sons, Derek (Geraldine) Wilson of Luxembourg; and Brian (Brad Englund) Wilson of Brooklyn, New York; his daughter, Ariana
(Tony) Robinson of Peachtree City, Georgia; his former wife, Sheila Adams of Ocala, FL; grandchildren, Derek Lamont Wilson Jr., Jamal Lawrence Wilson, Mailk Trey Wilson, Isaiah George Wilson (all four mothered by Daniele Bach Wilson), Anthony Jalen Robinson, and William Thomas Robinson; his step daughter, Brenda McGee along with a host of relatives, members of his church family, friends and former teammates.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George Wilson, visit Quinn Chapel AME Church, 10998 Southland Road, Cincinnati, OH 45240.
Service were August 12 at Quinn Chapel AME Church, including a Kappa Alpha Psi Memorial Service