Cover photo for Lester Wilson's Obituary
Lester Wilson Profile Photo
1927 Lester 2018

Lester Wilson

July 13, 1927 — May 16, 2018

ARNOLD MOORE & NEEKAMP FUNERAL HOME, BARTLESVILLE, OK (918) 336-5225 - Col. Lester V. Wilson, retired, age 90 and a Bartlesville resident, passed away Wednesday at his home. Lester Verdean Wilson was born July 13, 1927 in Renfrow, Okla. He was the son of Raymond Wilson and Cynthia (Hatfield) Wilson. He grew up in Renfrow, graduating from Caldwell High School, Kan., in 1944. Too young to join the World War II effort, he accomplished a semester of college at Oklahoma Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical College (later Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater. Upon turning 17 ½, and with required parental permission, he enlisted in the Navy. Wilson excelled in aviation electronics training as a radio technician, and was chosen to continue as an instructor. He ended active service in 1947, and continued serving in the Navy Reserve until his honorable discharge in 1953. After active duty he completed his college studies at Kansas State University, Emporia, earning graduate and post-graduate degrees in physical science. In 1952 he moved to Bartlesville to work for the Phillips Petroleum Company, and shortly thereafter built a home in nearby Barnsdall. At Phillips he became a manager of the company's X-ray spectroscopy laboratory. He retired in 1985 as a senior research physicist, and moved back to Bartlesville in 2016. Wilson's national service resumed in 1976 when he volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary arm of the Air Force. He rose to the rank of colonel, and served as commander of the Oklahoma Wing; vice commander of the Southwest Region; national deputy director for counter narcotics; and director of the National Staff College. A command pilot with 3,300 hours of flight time, Wilson participated in more than 100 search and rescue missions - including more than 30 downed aircraft finds - and, among other awards, was recognized as CAP's outstanding wing commander of the year in 1984. Wilson was a staunch U.S. patriot. He enjoyed flying and gun collecting; was an expert marksman; and an avid golfer and motorcyclist. He had many other interests, which included supporting a wide variety of philanthropic endeavors. In 1945, Lester and Barbara Horn were united in marriage. They were married more than 57 years before her death in 2002. Later, Lester married Marian Livengood and, in 2016, she too preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his parents and five brothers and sisters: Guy R. Wilson, Edna M. Wright, Chester L. Wilson, Alice Potter and Mary L. Thomas. Survivors include his niece, Sylvia Paoli of La Mirada, Calif., and multiple grand nieces and nephews. Services will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home, 710 S. Dewey Ave. Pastor Jsue Wagner of Comforting Hands Hospice will officiate. Wilson will be laid to rest in the Caldwell City Cemetery, Caldwell, Kan. Arrangements are under the direction of the Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home. Online condolences can be left at

Visitation Details

Saturday, May 19th, 2018 9:00am - 5:00pm, Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home

Sunday, May 20th, 2018 1:00pm - 5:00pm, Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home

Service Details

Monday, May 21st, 2018 11:00am, Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home

Interment Details

Caldwell City Cemetery

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