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Ralph Albert Wilson


Sunrise: September 29, 1948

Sunset: October 5, 2019

During the early morning hours of Saturday, October 5, 2019, Ralph Albert Wilson made his transition from earthly burdens to peaceful rest. Born in Norfolk County, now Portsmouth, Virginia on September 29, 1948, Ralph was the ninth of ten children born to Rev. Joseph C. and Lucy R. Wilson. He attended I. C. Norcom High School and was elected president of his graduating class. A serious athlete, Ralph excelled in football and track, earning a scholarship to Virginia State College in 1967. Though two years of military service interrupted his education, Ralph returned to college and graduated from Norfolk State University in 1975 with a degree in business administration.

Professionally, Ralph worked in banking for many years, managing various branches and securing promotions vigorously throughout his career. He served on several boards including the American Institute of Banking and as a Commissioner for the Portsmouth Industrial Development Authority. He volunteered with Junior Achievement, mentoring youth interested in business.
An entrepreneur at heart, Ralph left banking to become self-employed as a skilled tax preparer, estate planner and astute accountant. Volunteering at his granddaughter’s school led him to becoming a substitute teacher, a position he held for over fifteen years. Ralph was a member of Prince Hall Masons and a former member of First Baptist Church West Norfolk. An avid fisherman and gardener, Ralph was at one with the great outdoors.

He was fond of grilling out and playing cards with his friends to whom he was devoted. They valued his opinions and marveled at his uncanny sense of humor. His eternal optimism was always present whether he was rooting for his beloved Cowboys or tackling some complicated project. His favorite expression was, “It will be alright.” Most importantly, Ralph was a loving and often-overly protective father and grandfather who believed that “children should be allowed to be children.” He was always eager to share his wisdom with his family and he took pride in supporting their activities even when he wasn’t well. In addition to his parents, Ralph was predeceased by two sisters, Ethel and Vilma, and two brothers, Melvin and Earl. He is survived by three children: Sarah Jones of Portsmouth, Rodney Wilson (Lisa) of Sandston, Virginia, and Kelli Wilson of Chesapeake; five grandchildren: Jadai Wilson, Jayden Britt, Alicia and Ashley Jones, and Malik Lawrence; three great-grandchildren; three sisters: Eunice Cephas, Florie Knight (Timothy), and Arbedella Austin; and two brothers: Ronald Wilson (Barbara) and Timothy Wilson, all of Portsmouth. Also left to cherish his memory are numerous loving nieces, nephews, a special friend, Sylvia Nowling, many lifetime friends and several exceptional neighbors.

Though Ralph will be missed, he will not be forgotten. His children will wear his smile on their faces; the grandbabies will carry his light in their eyes; his family will keep his love in their hearts, and his friends will hear his laughter each time the cards are shuffled or his team scores a point. Ralph is out of our sight; but not out of our minds.

Viewing Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Metropolitan Funeral Service 5605 Portsmouth Boulevard Portsmouth, VA 23701 Service WATCH SERVICE LIVE ONLINE Thursday, October 10, 2019 11:00am Metropolitan Funeral Service Portsmouth, VA 23701 Interment Albert G. Horton Veteran Cemetery 5310 Milners Road Suffolk, VA 23434

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Condolences(7)

  1. reply
    Jacquelyn Owens (Parker) says

    Words cannot fully express my sadness in learning that a high school and college best friend had passed. Although I hadn’t seen you in a while I thought of you. Rest in peace.

  2. reply
    BARBARA DAVIS Sparks says

    To The Wilson Family…..Little did we know that morning, God was going to call Ralph’s name. In life we loved him as a neighbor, a friend and even a Watch Dog in the neighborhood school. Your wave or smile and even offering a helping hand will be missed. In life we loved him dearly, In death, we’ll do the same.Our Neighborhood chain is broken, But as God calls us one by one our neighborhood will link again……Sincerely The Neighbors of Keaton Way

  3. reply
    Miss Brinda Massenburg says

    To The Wilson Family,
    On behalf of The Family and Consumer Science Department at Wilder Middle School – we extend our sincere condolance to you, Mr. Wilson and Family. The Wilson Family is in our thoughts and prayers. Please know your Wilder Middle School Family is here for you.

    • reply
      Linnea Palmer says

      To the family of Ralph Wilson sorry for your loss my prayers goes out to you and your family member during this time.

  4. reply
    Alvin Swilley says

    Was shocked to see Ralph Wilson’s name a few moments ago while paging thru a Virginian Pilot that I picked up this morning down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Though we first met in high school, it was our days at Virginia State that bring back the fondest memories. He was a central figure in our P-Town guys and gals group, along with others from elsewhere that we picked up along the way. So many good times–times I’ve recounted over and over for 50+ years. Although we only ran into each other every blue moon since those times, most of those memories are as fresh as if it happened yesterday. Will miss you, my brother. Sincere condolences to the entire Wilson family. Peace!

  5. reply
    Leonard Moore says

    It was a sad day when I learned that Ralph had passed. Seems like only yesterday that we would run around playing football in our early teens. He will be missed indded.

  6. reply
    Estherine J. Harding says

    Extending sympathy and prayers to the Wilson Family in the passing of your loved one. May God bless you with peace and comfort during this difficult time.

    Estherine J. Harding, NSU Retiree (Formerly of the Financial Aid Office)

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