John Marvin “Shorty” Wilson

John Marvin “Shorty” Wilson

John Marvin “Shorty” Wilson

Van Horne

John Marvin “Shorty” Wilson, age 89, of Zionsville, Indiana, died on March 21, 2024, after a short illness.

John was born on November 14, 1934, in Van Horne, Iowa, to E. Douglass and Alice (Herzberger) Wilson.

He graduated from Van Horne High School in 1953. He was a gifted athlete and played center on the Van Horne basketball team from 1950-1953. Despite playing in the era before the shot clock and three-point shot, he is still listed as one of the all-time leading scorers in Iowa high school basketball history. In addition, he pitched and played first base for the Van Horne baseball team who won the Iowa state baseball tournament in fall 1952.

He married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn (Steinford) Wilson on June 6, 1954. He worked as a mechanic at his father’s Dodge dealership in Van Horne for two years and then served active duty in the army from 1956-1958. Upon return he and Marilyn attended the University of Iowa. John graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. He and Marilyn moved to Southern California and ultimately settled in Tustin, California, where they lived for many years. They had two children, Carol and Stephen Wilson.

John worked in many capacities including loan officer and branch manager for United California Bank which became First Interstate Bank and later merged with Wells Fargo Bank. He retired as a senior vice president in the commercial loan department. In his later years at the bank, he was known by his younger coworkers as the Big Dog.

After retirement, John and Marilyn moved to Zionsville, Indiana, to be near their grandchildren, Matthew, Ainsley, and Johnathan Wilson. They also owned a winter home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was known affectionately to his grandkids as Papa John.

He remained a lifelong sports fan, especially of the Iowa Hawkeyes. This led to several fun, memorable, yet “unfortunate” family trips to the Rose Bowl parade and game in 1982 (Washington 28, Iowa 0), 1986 (UCLA 45, Iowa 28), and 1991 (Washington 46, Iowa 34). However, he was most proud of watching Matthew play center for the Northern Highlands Regional High School Highlanders football team, Ainsley swim for the Highlanders and the Strath Haven Panthers varsity swim teams, and Johnathan play linebacker for the Highlanders and Panthers and also the Hamilton College Continentals football teams.

When Matthew was attending Purdue University, he would drive down to see Papa John once a month or so, where the two of them were known to frequent Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Indianapolis!

John lived independently in his own home in Zionsville to the end, driving and doing his own taxes. He developed a large group of friends there who are a testament to his lifelong kindness, decency, and sense of humor.

He is preceded in death by his parents; loving wife, Marilyn; beloved daughter, Carol; treasured brother and friend, Bill Wilson, and sister-in-law, Bonita (Brehm) Wilson. He is survived by his son, Dr. Stephen Wilson, daughter-in-law, Dr. Lia (Logio) Wilson, and three grandchildren, Matthew, Ainsley, and Johnathan Wilson.

A private graveside service will be held in Van Horne, Iowa, on May 3, 2024. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be donated in memory of John to the Salem United Methodist Church, 205 3rd Ave., Van Horne, IA 52346.

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