My party clothes are making the rounds this month. Laumeier Sculpture Park turned 30 in early October. The same weekend my family and I celebrated my adorable niece's second birthday (by the way, she's a genius). And last weekend, Earl Wilson, one of Saint Louis' true visionaries, turned 75.
More than 100 family, friends, and fans attended the fete held at the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation facility, including Mayor Francis Slay who presented proclamation, declaring Saturday, October 13, 2007 "Earl Wilson Day".
Pioneers are often the recipients of grand greetings and gestures. Earl Wilson started accruing both when he became a ROTC captain at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Between then and now, he built a 30-year sales career at IBM, raised a daughter who became a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and a radio executive son, and returned home to Saint Louis to educate today's youth for tomorrow's decision making.
The St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation, founded by Earl Wilson, hosts a football game each September at the Edward Jones Dome. The game and its12-month calender of activities provide financial support to area students who want to attend college. To date, more than $2.2 million has been raised for the scholarship fund, educating more than 100 inner city and disadvantaged county students. Qualifying students need only to have a C-plus average and a desire to learn.
As friends stepped to the microphone to toast Earl Wilson Saturday night, the words "tireless community leader" were often heard. My birthday salute included a thank you to Earl and his wife, Billie, who have been generous with their kindness and encouragement. His story is one of originality and authenticity...from the way he's lived for 75 years to the way he leads.