Remembering Charles Nesbitt Wilson - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Remembering Charles Nesbitt Wilson

LUFKIN, TX - Congressman Charles Nesbitt Wilson, 76, of Lufkin was born June 1, 1933 in Trinity, Texas and passed away February 10, 2010 in Lufkin.

Wilson graduated from he United States Naval Academy in 1956.  After being commissioned in the Navy, he was assigned to a destroyer in 1956.  He served in several capacities on the ship ending up, after 38 months of sea duty, as the Gunnery officer.  He was then assigned  as a Naval Intelligence Officer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until his Honorable Discharge in late 1960.

In November of 1960, Wilson was elected to the Texas Legislature where he served until his election to US Congress in 1972.  He spent 24 years in the United State Congress serving briefly on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee.  The vast amount of his tenure was the Appropriations Committee where he served for 21 years.  In this capacity, he was assigned to the Defense Subcommittee as well as the Foreign Operations Subcommittee.  He also won a seat on the Intelligence Committee making him the only member of Congress to serve simultaneously on the three legislative bodies dealing with the national security of the United States as well as its intelligence gathering capacity.

In the 1980's Wilson became convinced that the decisive battle of the Cold War was beginning to take place between the Red Army and the Freedom Fighters of Afghanistan.  He dedicated himself throughout the 80's to strengthening the cause of the Freedom Fighters.  To the astonishment of the world, the intrepid mountain men were finally victorious, driving the defeated Red Army ignominiously back to the Soviet Union.  Most contemporary historians credit the Polish Pope, Lech Waleza and the Afghan defeat, as the blows from which the Evil Empire could not recover.  Because of the Afghan victory, it is notable that eleven months later the Berlin Wall collapsed.

The above conflict is the subject of "Charlie Wilson's War," a New York Times best sellers, in 2002.  The book was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  It had a successful debut in 2007.  The Congressman was further honored by the University of Texas.  A one million dollar Charlie Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies was financed by the TLL Temple Foundation, the Pakistani community, and donors throughout the United States.

Wilson is the only civilian to hold the CIA award as "Honored Colleague."  He was also awarded the Afghan Freedom Medal.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Wilson; sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Sam Allison of Waco, Texas; sister-in-law, Deborah Livshin of Cockeysville, MD; step-daughter and son-in-law, Sarah Adriene and Brett Wiener of Clearwater, FL; step-daughter and finance, Rachel Arin and Scott Steele of Clearwater, FL; nephew, Samuel Wilson Allison of Waco, TX; niece and her husband, Elizabeth Allison and Kirk Florence of Dallas, TX; two great-nephews, Wilson Buchanan Florence and Samuel Patrick Florence; great-niece, Grayson Anne Allison.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Wilmuth (Nesbitt) and Charles E. Wilson.

Note:  Memorial contributions may be sent to the Charlie Wilson Scholarship Fund at Angelina COllege, P.O. Box 1768, Lufkin, Texas  75902.

***Information provided by Gipson Funeral Home

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