Lt. Colonel Raymond Johnston Wilson
(April 1, 1922–April 4, 2007)
Mrs. Lt. Colonel Sara Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson
(March 10, 1917–April 10, 2007)
Lt. Colonel Raymond Johnston Wilson was promoted to Glory on April 4; his wife, Mrs. Lt. Colonel Betty Wilson, followed him just six days later. Both were residing in Manchester, Conn.
Raymond was born and raised in Turners Falls, a small town just outside of Greenfield, Mass. He was the second of William and E. Gladys Wilson's four children. As a young boy, he attended activities and worship at the Greenfield Corps, and gave his heart to God at the corps mercy seat at age 13.
Betty was one of two children born to James and Annie Jaap (a former officer), in Cannonsburg, Pa. Raised in a Christian home, Betty learned to value the things of God at an early age. When the Cannonsburg Corps opened, she made The Salvation Army her church home and was converted there in 1931. She joined the ranks in 1932 and became a faithful, steadfast soldier.
Betty entered the New York Training College as part of the Enthusiast session and was commissioned in 1938. In 1942 Raymond entered the Valiant session and was commissioned in 1943. The couple met while serving in Western Pennsylvania. They fell in love and were joined in marriage on January 3, 1946. Together, they ministered at various corps throughout the Eastern Territory.
The Wilsons retired to Clearwater, Fla., in 1987. They became active at the Clearwater Corps; Raymond served as an accountant for a financial campaign and Betty worked in the Home League and League of Mercy. In 1999, illness necessitated that they move closer to family members in Connecticut.
Raymond, described as bright and intelligent by his co-workers, made people around him feel uplifted. He was devoted to his family and also said, "My only ambition is to preach Christ in such a way that men may be brought to Him."
Betty, known for her pleasant personality, was down-to-earth, patient, kind, and outgoing. She demonstrated tremendous leadership ability that a family member described as a "steel fist in a velvet glove." Betty had a strong love for her family and her Lord. Her life truly radiated Christ in all she did.
Raymond and Betty are survived by a son, Major A. Kenneth Wilson of Old Orchard Beach, Maine; a daughter, Betty Rae Kirby of Vernon, Conn.; Raymond's sister, Mrs. Brigadier Ruth Jackson of Clearwater, Fla.; four granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters. Messages for the family may be sent to Mrs. Betty Rae Kirby, 78 Rambling Road, Vernon, CT 06066.