Edward Charles 'Ned' Wilson III, APG information technology specialist, dies

Vietnam veteran was remembered as a Renaissance man because of his varied interests

July 01, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Edward Charles "Ned" Wilson III, a retired Aberdeen Proving Ground information technology specialist and former board member of Maryland Life Magazine, died June 17 of prostate cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

He was 64.

The son of farmers, Mr. Wilson was born in Baltimore and raised on the family farm in Darlington, where he eventually built a home and spent his entire life.

After graduating from McDonogh School in 1964, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

Drafted into the Army in 1968, Mr. Wilson was sent to Phu Bai, Vietnam, after completing training in preventive medicine at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

"In Vietnam, he was part of a unit that tested water, sprayed for mosquitoes and tested rats for disease," said his wife of 36 years, the former Judith Bogdan. He was discharged in 1971.

Mr. Wilson had considered a career in law.

"His father had been a prominent attorney, and of course he was expected to carry on the family tradition," said Ross Peddicord, former Baltimore Sun racing writer who is executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

"But when he came back from Vietnam, he said his outlook on life had changed and law school didn't appeal to him anymore. So he changed careers," Mr. Peddicord said.

An information technology specialist for more than 30 years, Mr. Wilson held assignments in Washington and at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he worked for two decades until retiring in 2005.

"He walked and jogged for exercise," his wife said. "He was known at APG for his lunchtime walks around the loop at the Officer's Club. Weather didn't matter."

"I have known Ned ever since we were students at McDonogh School. He always had an unusually curious mind and was a star student," recalled Mr. Peddicord.

He said Mr. Wilson's best friend from his McDonogh days was Herbert Bevard, who is now the Roman Catholic bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

"They cut quite a figure, far wiser and mature beyond their years even as teenagers. Really, you would think they were products of Eton instead of a boys military school," recalled Mr. Peddicord. "They were witty, sophisticated and interested in a more cerebral and nuanced approach to life than your regular kid."

He said Mr. Wilson "enriched so many lives by just being Ned. His take on things was always fascinating."

Mr. Wilson, who served on the advisory board for several years of Maryland Life Magazine, of which Mr. Peddicord is co-publisher, often represented the magazine at gatherings and meetings.

Mr. Peddicord said Mr. Wilson would also "enthusiastically staff" the magazine's subscription booth at festivals.

"One year at the Flowermart, the theme was 'Baltimore is Bee-utiful' so I got the idea that Ned and I would dress up as bumblebees," he said.

"Naturally, we won the Best Booth contest. But when William Donald Schaefer came by and looked at us, he said, 'You two are the ugliest things I have ever seen.' I thought it was hilarious, but Ned said, 'I think I'm offended,'" Mr. Peddicord recalled with a laugh.

Mr. Wilson, who had been a member of his college glee club, enjoyed singing and was a member and treasurer of Bay Country Gentlemen, a barbershop chorus. He also sang with the Bel Air Community Chorus.

An avid swimmer and tennis player, he was co-chair of the Churchville Tennis Program. He also had been a Cubmaster for a decade of Churchville Cub Scout Pack 235 and a former firefighter with the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

A philanthropic interest of Mr. Wilson's was Paws and Stripes, which provides rescue dogs to soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He played tennis even after he became ill," said Mr. Peddicord, who recalled his friend as being an interesting conversationalist.

"Ned was a real Renaissance man and a great conversationalist. If there were a contest for 'The Best Conversationalist in Maryland,' he would have won, hands down," he said.

"You could talk to him all day about any topic — music, literature, philosophy, his experiences in the Vietnam War, Harford County gossip — he was always engaging, irreverent and entertaining," Mr. Peddicord said.

He was a communicant and choir member of St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, 230 S. Law St., Aberdeen, where Bishop Bevard will be a concelebrant of a Mass of Christian burial that will be offered at 11 a.m. July 8.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Wilson is survived by two sons, Andrew Bogdan Wilson of Washington and Nathaniel Halliday Wilson of Arlington, Va.; and two sisters, Ann Dick Wilson of Delmar, N.Y., and Carolyn Wilson Keenan of Colorado Springs, Colo.


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