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Lieutenant Colonel Kelton “Kern” Marc Wilson

Lieutenant Colonel Kelton Marc Wilson, USMC, Retired, 83, of Pencil Bluff, Arkansas, passed away on Thursday, December 12, 2019, surrounded by his family. He is preceded in death by his mother, Frances Harris Wilson, and his grandsons Jason Darryl Owens and Matthew Douglas Owens. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Cora Sue Wilson, one son, Dr. Phillip (Kristi) Wilson of Mena, Arkansas, three daughters, Rebecca (Steve) Owens of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Gretchen (Carey, Colonel, USAF, Retired) Tucker of El Dorado, Arkansas, and Susan (Hoot) Hughes of Pencil Bluff, Arkansas and 13 grandchildren that were the lights of his life: Marc Jackson Tucker, Jason Darryl Owens, Matthew Douglas Owens, Andrew Scott Tucker, Tyler Gregory Tucker, Aaron Patrick Pasquinzo, Sean Alexander Hughes, Allison Elizabeth Hughes, Marc David Wilson, Adam Taylor Hughes, Rachel Elizabeth Wilson, Lauren Ann Hughes, Katherine Frances Wilson and numerous great grandchildren. Marc also has one brother, Darryl Wilson of Torrance, California.

He was born in Enid, Oklahoma and lived with his mother until a significant health issue took her life at an early age. He soon moved to Pencil Bluff where he was raised by his maternal grandparents Floyd and Adelaide Harris. Marc went to, and graduated from, Oden Public schools. He was a multi-year All State athlete on the Ode Maddox coached basketball team that was State Class B Runner-Up in 1953 and State Class B Champion in 1954.

Marc, after graduating from Oden in 1954, matriculated to Beebe Junior College as a scholarship athlete to begin his academic studies. He was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Basketball ALL-AMERICAN in 1955-56. After two years at Beebe, he furthered his education and basketball career at Bethel College in Mackenzie, Tennessee. While there, he met the love of his life, Sue Percifull.

After college graduation in 1958, he soon married Sue and began his career in the United States Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel Wilson proudly served the United States actively for 23 years, retiring in 1983. He served valiantly during the Vietnam conflict and for many years thereafter commanded numerous joint military operations around the world preparing for a potential World War III. Marc rarely talked about combat or the theater of war. When he did, he spoke of the profound sadness associated with it. He never forgot his Marines that were lost and those that continued to struggle post combat.

After retiring in 1983 from the Marines, he began farming in Pencil Bluff. Marc loved all of his animals. From Gertie the Goose, to Jodi the Goat, to Polderdyke the Brahman bull, he had a special bond with them all. His full time affair of farming only lasted a couple of years due to his desire to teach science at the little school that gave him his first chance at an education and a way out of extreme poverty, Oden Public Schools. Mr. Wilson soon became one of the most popular teachers to ever lecture within the halls of Oden. His beloved students quickly changed his name to “Kern”. To this day, most of his former students still call him that. He was proud of every student that he helped educate. He received as much from them as he gave to them. The stories of his nearly 15 years as “the science teacher” at Oden live today in the fond memories of so many.
After teaching, Marc, for a second time, retired back to his Happy Hills Farm. His focus at this point in his life were his grandchildren and great grandchildren. To ultimately know Marc Wilson was to know his grandchildren. His grandchildren were the light of his life and they were clearly his greatest accomplishment. His love for all of them was unending.
In lieu of flowers, the family would respectfully ask that you donate to the endowed Harris/Percifull scholarship at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Foundation.

Memorial service will be Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 1:00 PM at the Oden High School Bill Kelly Gymnasium in Oden, AR. Services under the direction of Thornton Funeral Home in Mount Ida, AR. Guest register at www.thorntonfh.com.

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