A Tribute to a Friend

As we start this Labor Day Celebration, I do so with a heavy heart as our Village has lost one of its truly "great" citizens. Mike Wilson passed yesterday morning at his residence  in Greenview. Mike was a coach, teacher, mentor, mayor and a friend. His career as a coach and a teacher affected the lives of so many here in Greenview.  As a coach he had the uncanny ability of making you do things you normally thought were impossible and making you feel good about doing it. He had a smile he would give you that gave you the immediate feeling that everything would be ok all while teaching you a life lesson in the process. 

In junior high I encountered a couple of these lessons. During baseball we encountered a team that was going through what some would call "restructuring". We led by numerous runs and I was finally going to get a chance to go in the game and pitch some innings. I was eager to show the coach my fastball skills but as I prepared to enter the game he said " Let them hit the ball". I couldn't believe what I was hearing, however later in life I fully understood the lesson he was teaching us that day. 

In track he explained to me that I would be a miler. I didn't like running a block let alone a mile. However I stuck with it and by my eight grade year I finished 5th in the district. Not a great feat by any means, however I did get a ribbon and learned to never give up. 

As a teacher he had the ability to get anyone to learn. Drivers Ed and Health were the two subjects he chose to tackle. He was tough yet fair and it seemed like his classes were classes that everyone couldn't wait to get to. I would have never guessed in high school that Mike would affect my life as an adult. 

He was Mayor when I first entered city government as a trustee. My time with him was short as he felt the time had come for him to let someone else take the reigns. He was always fair and took the time to hear anyone's comments, complaints, etc. 

As a home builder, I was chosen to build their latest home. A project that resulted in many memories being shared and many laughs being had. A project that will always remain one of my favorites. 

Finally as I decided to take a run for Mayor I confided in Mike for his advise and expertise. We talked awhile, he gave me his advice and in the end he gave me that smile and stated " you will do just fine". Here we were almost 30 years after I had graduated and he still had the ability to make me feel I could accomplish anything. 

In closing I believe he would want us all to share our stories with happiness not sorrow. The stories will be many as we remember a great man. I can picture him now, looking down with that smile, letting us all know that it will be ok. Rest in peace my friend.