ORRVILLE — Woodrow “Les” Leslie Wilson was born July 23, 1938 in Ankeny, Iowa to Woodrow and Viola (Love) Wilson at home. His parents were tenant farmers and moved frequently. He enjoyed fieldwork and often did so after school. While living in Perry, Iowa, he drove school buses during his high school years. He graduated high school in 1957 and took a gap year before heading to McPherson College in Kansas. While there he worked for the grounds crew and built several experimental lawn mowers. After graduating with a BS degree, in 1963, he headed to Wichita and worked for both Cessna and Beechcraft. As a member of a flight club, he enjoyed learning to fly, and did purchase a non-electrical aircraft (a Luscombe 8A), which he flew for several years.
In July 1967 he met Ruthann Conrad through his younger brother and wife. After a whirlwind courtship, they married in April 1968. After the aircraft industry had a big slowdown in 1969, they moved to Wayne County, Ohio. Les worked for several local companies including Albright Welding Supply in Wooster. In 1985 he started Wilson Sales & Service just outside of Dalton, selling and repairing bicycles, and building and installing wrought iron handrails. He also drove school buses for Dalton schools, before driving for Orrville City Schools for over 25 years. Les enjoyed going to garage sales and auctions looking for deals. After retiring he returned to lawn care and snow plowing. He never met a stranger and enjoyed talking to one and all! He also had his hand in projects wherever needed: church, neighbors, etc. At East Chippewa church he taught the Truthseeker – Good Will class, served as trustee and on the cemetery association. He was also a two-time breast cancer survivor.
He is survived by wife, Ruthann; son Jeffrey (Kim) of West Salem; daughter Aimee (Charles) Stein of Orrville; 2 step grandsons Nathan Stein and Nick Dunn and four step great grandchildren; stepbrothers and sister Ron & Keith McLuen and Barbara (Al) Whitney of Arizona; in-laws Stanley (Sheila) Conrad of Bradenton, FL, Alice Thompson, Martha Rogers and Walter (Deb) Conrad all of Wooster; nieces and nephews including special nephew Jason (Anna) Wilson and daughters of Burns, TN; and his church family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a step-granddaughter, Emily Dunn; a brother, Jerry Wilson; and sisters-in-law, Faye and Mary Wilson.
Memorial services will be held at 12:00 pm on July 30, 2023, at East Chippewa Church of the Brethren, 7207 Chippewa Road, Orrville, with Pastor Brad Kelley officiating (casual attire appreciated). The family will receive friends following the service. Burial will take place privately before the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Aultman Hospice 2821 Woodlawn Ave. NW Canton, OH 44708 or East Chippewa Church 7207 Chippewa Rd. Orrville, Oh 44667.
Online registry and expressions of condolence may be made at www.aublefuneralhome.com.