Frank W. Wilson, 67 years of age, a member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County for over 35 years, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Beallsville, Maryland on Thanksgiving evening. His wife, Mary Pat, was by his side.
Mr. Wilson received his undergraduate degree from The Citadel in 1957, and his law degree from the University of Maryland Law School in 1960. After a few years with the Judge Advocate General's office of the Air Force, Mr. Wilson was associated with the law firm Wheeler & Korpeck. In the 1970's, he was a partner in the firm of Fitzgerald, Ridway & Wilson, first in Gaithersburg and then in their office located in Potomac.
In 1981, Mr. Wilson opened his office for the practice of law as a sole practitioner in Poolesville. In addition to his private practice, he also served as a Special Attorney General for the Maryland State Highway Administration. Frank's vast experience in condemnation proceedings made him an invaluable source of insight and advice for many members of the Bar over many years.
Any of our many colleagues of the Bar who called upon Frank to pick his brain will know that he was never too busy to lend his thoughts with regard to an issue. Those lawyers who were on the other side of the courtroom or table from Frank will fondly recall that he was the embodiment of the Code of Civility, long before anyone even thought about the necessity of putting those basic tenets in writing. And none of us will ever forget his hearty laugh. Frank was a true professional, part and parcel of which is the fact that he was a good, kind, courteous and caring person.
I had the privilege of getting to know Frank beginning in 1986 when I decided to leave a law firm in Rockville, go solo, and open an office next door to his office. I was, in other words, the new kid lawyer in what had been a one lawyer town, and, for all intents and purposes, a one lawyer area of the County. But that didn't bother Frank. He welcomed me with the warmth and cordiality of a true professional. It didn't take long before we shared a law library and, for that matter, a lasting friendship.
In 1996, Frank closed his office for the private practice of law, (much to my chagrin, and thereby reducing the membership of what we often laughingly referred to as the "Poolesville Bar Association" by 50%), and accepted a full-time position with the Attorney General's office. In 1999, he retired from his employment with the State.
Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Notwithstanding his debilitating illness, Frank's quick wit and sense of humor was not lost on anyone who visited him, even though his ability to communicate had been severely limited of late.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, he was abundantly giving of his time to the community. He was an active member of the Monocacy Lions Club, served as the Treasurer and Board Member of Sugarloaf Citizens Association, Inc. for many years, and he was active in the governance of his church, St. Peter's Episcopal Parish in Poolesville, for the past twenty years.
During the memorial service held for Frank on December 3, his father-in-law stated that the unremitting question of life after death was something he had been considering and pondering in his own mind for quite some time. He did not have a definitive answer to that question, nor do any of us but for our faith, except to correctly observe that Mr. Wilson's life was not under any circumstances ephemeral; because it lives on in each of us whom he touched and influenced, and it will be carried on by those who knew him.
The greatest tribute that any of us, as members of the Bar, can give to the memory of Frank W. Wilson and his time with us is to aspire to the level of courtesy, professionalism, service to the community and church unselfishly exhibited by him.
In addition to his wife, Mary Pat, Frank is survived by one son and two step-children.
The family has suggested that donations in Mr. Wilson's honor be made to the St. Peter's Episcopal Parish Building Fund, Post Office Box 387, Poolesville, Maryland 20837, or to the National Capital Area Chapter of the ALS Association, Suite 308, 615 South Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877.