Torrence "Ted" Wilson III '62 August 21, 2023 12:57 PM updated: August 21, 2023 1:15 PM
Torrence B. "Ted" Wilson, III, CAPT USN (Ret)
September 15, 1939 - July 29, 2023
Ted was born in Wichita Falls, Texas in September of 1939. At the age of about 5, his father bought an 1100-acre ranch in an even smaller town, Walnut Springs, Texas, where they raised cattle, goats, pigeons, cats and whatever wandered in.
From an early age he rode horseback on the ranch with his father. Ted attended high school at Meridian High School. After graduating from high school Ted attended Texas A & M College in College Station, Texas, where he graduated in 1962 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. A classmate told him the Navy was recruiting for flight school, so he walked across the street and signed up, he was in the Army for about 3 minutes and decided to join the Navy, he wanted to fly, not walk behind a tank and besides, he said the Navy had sharper uniforms-which they do. He went to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his wings and met his wife, Brandy. Four months after their meeting they married and have spent 60 amazing years together. Many duty stations, to date maybe more than 26 moves in our 60 years.
In 1966 while stationed in VP-16 in Jacksonville, Florida, we welcomed our daughter, Leslie Anne. About an hour after she was born, he left for a deployment with VP-16 for almost a year-his first of 5 deployments to Viet Nam, Leslie was almost a year old when he returned. We were then transferred to Alameda, CA where he was assigned as CIC officer on board the USS Hancock out of Alameda. After the ship left, we found that I was pregnant with our son, ‘Tad’ called after his Great Grandfather. After 5 deployments to Viet Nam there were 7 years and one war between our children.
Ted was then assigned to the Army War College in Carlisle, PA. He enjoyed being able to spend time with family and nurture our son, Tad, in Scouting and guide Leslie as she went on to college.
During his career in the Navy he served in squadrons, AEW 11 in Argentia, Nfld, VP 16, VP 45 and aboard three aircraft carriers, the USS Hancock, the USS Forrestal and the USS Eisenhower.
Ted’s last tour of duty sent us to Gainesville, Florida where he was CO of the Navy/Marine Corp ROTC at the University of Florida. After retirement from the military Ted took a position as a manager at the Deer Haven Generating Station and we stayed in Gainesville.
After his second retirement he became involved in tutoring 3rd graders in reading and math. They all loved calling out “Hellooo Mr. Wilson” when he came into the classroom. He soon became involved in the Alachua Food4Kids Backpack program and worked and shopped for sometimes 50 or more children and their siblings, sending backpacks home every Friday for more than 12 years; no one would get behind us in the grocery store when they saw three cartloads overflowing with items. He expanded that program to reach high school youth who needed food to get through the weekends. He was still active in that program at the time of his passing.
Ted was a member of the Alachua Methodist Church for twenty-five years and was actively involved on many committees and served on the Church Council for a number of years.
He leaves behind his wife of sixty years, Brandy, daughter, Leslie Anne Charlesworth (James), son, CAPT Tad Wilson, USCG (Patricia), Grandchildren James Bryan, Justin Alexander, Emma Claire, Finley Laure and Stella Lucienne.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 11:00 am at Alachua Methodist Church. 14805 NW 140th St, Alachua, FL 32615.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alachua Methodist Church.