03/06/05 — Local baseball legend Wilson passes at 79

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Local baseball legend Wilson passes at 79

Published in Sports on March 6, 2005 2:10 AM

R.M. (Bobby) Wilson, 79, of Goldsboro, died March 4, 2005.

Wilson played professional baseball from 1945 to 1954. He attended Oak Ridge Military School and was signed by the Cleveland Indians at age 18. He was enshrined into the Oak Ridge Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame in October 1996.

Wilson played in the Class A Eastern League at Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where he batted .309 and led the league in stolen bases with 30 or more, each year, for three years. He played for the International League Baltimore Orioles, at shortstop.

The next three years he played for the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League and was on the All-Star team each season. Wilson continued a lifetime strong interest in baseball and advised many young players. He never officially work as a scout, but was a contact between scouts and young players with potential.

Since 1969 he was an active member of the North Carolina Professional Baseball Representatives and was presented in 2003 with the organizations' first ever award for contributions to a lifetime of baseball. The Bobby Wilson Baseball Award was named in his honor. The same year, Wilson received the George Whitfield Award for contribution to baseball.

Wilson came home in 1954 and started several business projects. He opened a restaurant called Bobby Wilson Barbecue and started an independent self service station, the first in Wayne County. He later added a tire and radiator shop.

Wilson served on the New Hope School Advisory Board for 15 years and the Goldsboro Planning Board for 10 years. He was a life-long member and supporter of the New Hope Friends Meeting. Bobby was named for his grandfather, Robert Monroe Wilson, who donated the original land for New Hope Friends Meeting. He was one of the original principals in starting the Sleepy Creek Golf course in the 1960s.

Wilson was blessed with a sunny disposition, a generous nature, and many friends. He had a wonderful ability to laugh at life and most of its problems. His latter years were full of grandchildren, golf and daily celebrations of life at T.E.'s store -- where old and young could have a soda and good conversation every morning but Sunday. Here, amid the antique garage implements of another era, he held court for neighborhood regulars and any newcomers who happened by.

Kathleen and Bobby were devoted to each other for 55 years of their married life.