Portville- Francis J. “Tony” Wilson, formerly of Portville, and most recently a resident of the Absolut at Allegany and the Pines Health and Rehabilitation Center in Olean, passed away Friday (March 20, 2020) at the Olean General Hospital, days before his 95th birthday.
Born March 22, 1925 in Portville, he was the son of the late, Anthony and Marie Wilson. He married Myrtle “Myrt” Evans, who predeceased him on June 11, 2012.
Tony was a member of the Portville Central School Class of 1943. However, at the age of 17, he left high school to serve his country proudly in the United States Coast Guard in WWII. After the war, he was honorably discharged in 1946. He then returned to Portville Central School to earn his GED. Years later, at the age of 93, he graduated from high school and earned his high school diploma.
While a student at Portville Central School, Tony participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He was the captain for the football and basketball teams. He was also a member of the band and choir.
When Tony returned from the war, he helped his parents run Wilson’s Fruit Market and took over the business from them. In 1967, he became the Postmaster of the Portville United States Post Office.
He was a Portville Sports Booster for many years. He was also a referee for the local high school teams and was a basketball official at the collegiate level, and officiated many St. Bonaventure games. Tony was awarded the IAABO Life Time Achievement Award. He was a member of the committee that started the IAABO Classic Basketball Tournaments held at St. Bonaventure over 40 years ago. He was also a past member of the NCAA Basketball officials.
Tony was a member of the Portville Fire Department and a life member of the Portville American Legion Post #814 and was awarded the 75 Year National Legion Membership Award. He was an avid golfer and a former member of the Bolivar Country Club.
Surviving are four children; Richard “Rick” Wilson of Portville, Kathryn “Kitty” Cooley of Portville, Francis “F.J.” (Johnetta) Wilson of Portville and Mary Lee (Mark) Wenke of Olean; eleven grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services will be private at this time. A memorial mass at the Sacred Heart Oratory in Portville will be announced at a later date. Burial will be in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Portville.
Memorials if desired may be made to Portville Central School Booster Club, the Portville American Legion, 24 S. Main Street, Portville, or to the Portville Volunteer Fire Department, 5 S. Main Street, Portville.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Guenther Funeral Home, Inc. Online condolences may be made at www.guentherfh.com.
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