David H. Wilson: 1936–2023
Last updated 3/9/2023 at 11:28am
David Huntington Wilson (Dave) was born in Grand Coulee, Washington, on Dec. 5, 1936, and was the only child of Emily Gartside and Joseph Huntington Wilson (Joe). He died Jan. 16, 2023.
His parents divorced shortly after his birth and he didn't see his father again until he was a teenager. Dave grew up in West Seattle as an only child and attended West Seattle High School and the University of Washington, majoring in engineering and business.
Boating and fishing had always been family pastimes and, after graduation, he became a co-owner of Dave's Diver's Den, a scuba diving business on Lake Union, and a tugboat called the Vesta Miller.
In 1966 Dave married Shirley Bray Slough and together they raised five children, Nancy, Diane, Greg, Larry, and Christine. The family lived in Seattle until 1973, when they moved to their current home of 50 years in Edmonds.
In the 1960s, after a short career in sales, Dave combined his entrepreneurial spirit and talent for mechanics by launching the first Wilson Marine as a mobile boat-repair service out of his step-van.
Over the years, Wilson Marine Service expanded from a small office space at the Port of Edmonds to its decades-long location on Lake Union in Seattle that included multiple buildings and a marina with moorage and a dry-dock.
Dave joined forces with Denny Roehl, who remained his business partner and lifelong friend. They were a dynamic duo and also owned and operated a wholesale business, Marine Parts Northwest. After retiring from the boat repair business in 2000, Dave went on to become a successful marine surveyor and continued this work for well over a decade.
Through his connections in the marine industry, Dave had many opportunities to experience domestic and international waterways firsthand, including piloting a yacht through the treacherous waters of the Panama Canal and up the California and Oregon coastlines.
Along with the love he had for his family, Dave's pride and joy was the Bubble Dancer, a 42-foot Chris-Craft sport fisherman yacht. Dave especially loved going on cruises with Shirley and the Edmonds Yacht Club and spending summer weekends with family aboard the Bubble Dancer in Friday Harbor.
He also enjoyed traveling with Shirley, spending vacations in Puerto Vallarta and Sandpoint, Idaho, and visiting other states and countries. Dave loved attending car shows and had owned and treasured numerous vintage and classic cars since he was a teenager.
He was especially fond of his last two vehicles, a classic XJ-S Jaguar and his Lexus. Dave had also earned a private pilot's license and was part-owner of a Cessna 172 airplane.
Dave came to know the Lord later in life, but he made up for those lost years by never once wavering in his faith after making his commitment to the Lord at age 63. Dave was well known for his sense of humor and wrote a weekly joke column for the church newsletter at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Edmonds.
As his health began to decline, Dave provided the church with a portfolio of jokes that continue to be published in the church newsletter in his memory. The fellowship he received at St. Alban's was important and meaningful to Dave, and he rarely missed a service, joining in live online services when he was unable to attend in person.
Dave's beloved daughter, Christine Tabor, preceded him in death in 2005. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and four of his children and their partners: Nancy and James Chang, Diane and Matt Peters, Greg and Linda Wilson, and Larry Slough and Maya Damayanti.
Other survivors include his grandchildren: Anna Veillon, Jordan and Emily Peters, Angela and Maddie Cordero, James and Justin Schuelke, Colleen Butters, Anthony and Alexander Tabor, and Chas and Christopher Wilson; his great-grandchildren, Cody Cordero, Michael, Henry, and Ronnie Veillon, Ava Pennington, and Lucy Cordero-Steward; and his great-great-grandchild, Kelly Veillon.
Dave also cherished his 16-year-old dog, Lilly, who has survived her master. Dave was dearly loved by his family, friends, and neighbors and will forever be missed by all.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 18, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Edmonds.