Jan Alice Wilson, 71, passed away peacefully in her Leland home on Thursday, July 7, 2022, but she
wouldn’t want any tears shed. Jan wasn’t rich or famous so most would consider her ordinary, but she
lived an eventful life on her terms.
Norwood and Marlene Wilson’s first child was an absolute blessing. Then Jan’s siblings came along.
While Rodney Wilson (Germantown) ran around the house torturing her with a BB gun, Angie Bates
(Linwood) wasn’t afraid to throw her fists at anyone coming at Jan. The youngest, Beverly Hoots
(Clemmons), will tell you she tried to keep Jan out of trouble, but that’s just because nobody can
remember her wild years.
A wannabe hippie growing up in Winston-Salem, Jan was along for the ride with a truck bed full of stolen
marijuana (allegedly), dated the grandson of North Carolina tobacco royalty (who wore a cape), and
partied with people dumb enough to ask to shoot an apple off her head (she declined).
However, her successful career with Western Electric and eventual retirement with AT&T demonstrated
the dichotomy that made her special. One day she would read three novels (all of which were donated
to the Leland and Wilmington public libraries), while the next, she would scream at the Dallas Cowboys
to “kill” their opponent between sips of margarita. Despite her college degree and quick wit, she also
once pulled up to a drive-thru for a “hamburger with ketchup,” and was surprised when Pizza Hut
informed her that they only had tomato sauce.
Jan loved deeply, but that wasn’t solely limited to family and friends. She cried when Prince died; she
would yell if you interrupted her during Judge Judy; and she probably requested a Kermit’s hotdog when
she got to heaven.
Above all though, she had a real soft spot for helping people and animals – making her the favorite of
Girl Scouts going door-to-door and stray animals alike. She would often buy clothes without trying them
on, and quickly donate them to places helping those less fortunate when they didn’t fit. Animals were
also held in high regard, as Jan and her grandchildren once rescued an octopus and delivered it to the
Fort Fisher aquarium. A few years later, two injured baby pelicans showed up on her balcony, and she
couldn’t turn them away, so she tried to nurse them to health in her bathtub while she waited for
animal control. Even in her final weeks, she was determined to adopt a puppy – a search that will
continue in her memory.
In retirement, Jan enjoyed watching the waves hit the coast with her long-time partner, Keith Crumpler,
and her beloved cat – aptly named Miss Kitty. Of course, she was typically more interested in who was
getting arrested that weekend on the north end of Carolina Beach.
As Jan neared the end of her life, she was not afraid. She didn’t have regrets. She was comfortable with
the life she lived, but her gift of time ran short. Some might call her ordinary, but to those that knew her
best, she was anything but. Jan’s strong-willed demeanor, infectious laugh and loving heart made a
lasting impact on the many lives she touched.
Her daughter, Jennifer Reed (Wilmington), and son, Drew Wilson (Dallas, TX), will celebrate Jan’s life on
Saturday, Sept. 10, along with her three (less fun) siblings and 5 grandchildren who she loved so much –
Connor Reed, Sara Reed, Rachel Reed, Chase Reed and Luke Wilson. The rest of Jan’s family and friends
will join them to remember just how lucky they were to know her.