Harley Eugene "Willie" Wilson, 86, of Dawsonville, died June 13, 2017.
Willie was born March 20, 1931, the son of Clifton T. and Roma E. Wilson, who preceded him in death, as did his siblings, Jimmy and Margaret.
Born in rural Walton County, Willie grew up in Chamblee and was a star athlete at Chamblee High School.
He served with distinction and bravery in the United States Marine Corps in the Korean Conflict, attaining the rank of Sergeant.
Willie's early career included managing an American Legion Club, driving a truck, and painting for DeKalb County. He and Nancy also operated several country stores. Willie finally found his vocational calling in the 1970s when he began building houses in Forsyth County.
Willie also loved sports. He was a record setting football and baseball player in high school. On the Marine Corps baseball team in Japan, Willie played second base and led the league in steals. He was also a Marine boxing champion. He was a part of the early Atlanta Crackers Baseball team and was a player/manager of several semi-pro teams in Atlanta that captured titles. Fittingly, he homered in his last game as an active player.
In 1985 he was cast in the movie "The Sluggers Wife" as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Braves.
He served his church with passion and subtle leadership as a deacon. He loved his church family at Cornerstone Christian Church in Dawsonville. Willie was always available to serve others in the community and around the world, participating in mission trips to Ethiopia and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Nancy Pearl Wilson; children, David and Tammy Wilson of Tampa, Gary and Karen Wilson of Dawsonville, Wade and Laura Wilson of Aiken, Scott and Whitney Wilson of Dawsonville; 14 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; various other relatives also survive.
A memorial service was held at 3 p.m. June 17 at Cornerstone Christian Church in Dawsonville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be directed to the Cornerstone Benevolence Fund at Cornerstone Christian Church, 236 Etowah River Rd., Dawsonville, GA 30534.
Byars Funeral Home of Cumming was in charge of the arrangements.