Bob Wilson, a former Homewood businessman and village trustee, is being remembered for his many years of service in the South Suburbs.
Mr. Wilson, who moved to Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood 10 years ago, died June 8 from pancreatic cancer. He was 75.
For more than 40 years he owned Wilson Rental on 183rd Street in Homewood, eventually expanding to other locations across the area, including Crestwood, Mokena and Highland, Ind.
Mr. Wilson also served as a Homewood village trustee from 1979 to 1999. In September 2001, he was asked to serve as an interim trustee, a position he held until April 2003.
On his last day as trustee in 2003, the village passed a resolution honoring his years of service, not only to the village but also in community and regional organizations.
Mr. Wilson’s tenure as a trustee overlapped for several years with Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld, who remembered him as a fine public servant.
“He was a conscientious trustee who always acted in the best interest of the community,” Hofeld said.
The resolution reflected his leadership and work as a member of the Rotary Club as an avid spokesperson on behalf of the Free Family Health Fair held annually in Homewood and with his humanitarian work in Cusco, Peru.
“Bob Wilson has served the village with integrity and dedication as well as a commitment to a high standard of public service, and his personal dedication to the highest professional ideas and standards has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers, Homewood’s citizens and all who have worked with him,” the resolution stated.
In 2000, Mr. Wilson was elected chairman of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, formerly located in Homewood. At that time, the chamber had a membership of more than 1,500. Prior to being elected chairman, he served as a board member for three years and also chaired the Ambassador Committee and the chamber’s Regional Governmental Affairs Committee.
Several persons paid tribute to Mr. Wilson following his passing.
“Bob Wilson lived the motto of Rotary, ‘Service above Self,’” said Cheri Pierce Vana, a Rotary staff member. She said Mr. Wilson was a longtime member and a past president of the Homewood Rotary Club.
“He organized, managed and participated in medical missions to Cusco, Peru,” Vana said. “He even orchestrated the delivery of an ambulance to Peru one year. No hurdle was too big for Bob.
“For nearly 30 years he donated his time, tables and tents for the annual Rotary Health Fair held in Homewood. He also donated his equipment used to roast corn at Homewood Days to raise funds for Rotary’s efforts. And most recently, he was a member of the Near South Rotary in Chicago where he maintained their website.”
South Holland Trustee Cindy Dorn Nylen, who also served as chair of the Southland Chamber, said Mr. Wilson made an impact on those around him.
“Bob was loyal, honest, wise and had a heart of gold in his quiet manner and leadership style,” she said.
Illinois Rep. Al Riley, D-Hazel Crest, said Mr. Wilson “was just a great guy.”
“It was a pleasure to work with him,” Riley said. “He was a tremendous help to me with the Jazz in the Park events we held in Olympia Fields, providing all those beautiful white tents for people to enjoy. He will be missed.”
At Mr. Wilson’s request, there were no public services.