2017 Citizen of Year: Nancy Wilson
May 22, 2018
When you’re counting on someone, count on Nancy Wilson.
Family, numbers and Richardson – with accomplishments almost too numerous to list, uber-volunteer Nancy Wilson is this year’s Citizen of the Year.
Since 1965 the Richardson Chamber has named an annual Citizen of the Year. You can see the full presentation here.
This year’s honoree moved to Richardson a few years before that and has volunteered in our community for the past 57 years – and counting! This citizen is known for focusing on an issue until it is resolved, for getting things done so that they work when they are done, and for a love of statistics.
Born in Jasper, Alabama, our honoree attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics.
The newly-minted statistician accepted a job offer in operations research with Temco Aircraft, a small electronics and missiles company in Garland.
This person soon caught the eye of another young engineer working at Temco. They married and moved to Richardson in 1961 with their first baby in tow.
She balanced an active family life – eventually including two sons and a daughter – with her career as a statistician and the pursuit of advanced education. Prior to becoming an independent consultant in statistical analytics, she worked for the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, American Heart Association, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
A life-long learner, she received a master’s degree from SMU followed by a Master of Science in Statistics from UT Dallas; both while working and raising a family. She has served as a community leader and volunteer longer than many of us have lived or worked in Richardson, and indeed, longer than many in this room have been alive! Here are a few of her accomplishments:
A charter member, and president, of the League of Women Voters in Richardson. She’s actively volunteered with them for 57 years – and counting! - from preparing and editing the chapter’s Voter Guide for each election and preparing and moderating candidate forums and everything in between. She has also served as vice president of advocacy for six years with the League of Women Voters of Texas. Last week at their annual meeting, the mayor presented a Proclamation about all that Nancy has done for Richardson.
In 1973, a small group of Richardson residents was picking up cans and bottles, boxing them up and driving them to a recycling center. Our honoree was a charter member of the Richardson Environmental Action League, the oldest continuously operating volunteer recycling organization in the State of Texas. She’s been involved with the group for 48 years – AND COUNTING! REAL ran a recycling program in Richardson for 15 years and was the precursor of the city’s Blue Bag program. Its operations were recently folded into the city at this year’s Trash Bash. REAL leaders – including our honoree – presented a check for $20,000 to benefit the city’s environmental partnership initiatives.
Our citizen of the year made significant contributions as an eight-year member, and chair, of the City of Richardson Plan Commission. She worked to ensure developments under consideration were quality designs and beneficial to Richardson citizens and future business plans. She was also a member of the City of Richardson Park Commission. She is a strong advocate for beneficial land development, especially nature walks and city parks. As part of the Richardson Charter Review Commission, she and an elite group of Richardson residents went line by line through the city’s charter to make recommended changes to the decades old document.
In 1974 the family bought a home in Cottonwood Estates where she was an active volunteer of the Cottonwood Creek Civic Association for forty-plus years.
She has particularly savored coordinating between HOAs, the city and UTD during decades of growth and expansion. She serves as an Advisory Board Member at UTD with a focus on the needs of both citizens and the university.
In the 1980s she served on the Richardson Chamber Planning Committee and was a member of Leadership Richardson, Class 4, the best class.
You may be wondering, does this woman do anything for fun? Yes, she does!
She is adept at setting up orange cones after traffic accidents! In all seriousness, she is an avid supporter of the Richardson Volunteer Police Association. She volunteered tirelessly with their Field Operations Unit on regular patrols for 13 years, including assisting field engineers at accident sites. She graduated with Class 2 of the Richardson Citizen Police Academy.
Aside from her lengthy list of accomplishments, Nancy is passionate about early childhood education. A long-time advocate, she was a founding director of the Northaven Cooperative Preschool, on the board of the West Shore Methodist Kindergarten in Richardson, and served as president of the Dallas Association for Parent Education. Her interest in prenatal care and graduate work at SMU led to her attendance at United Nations’ first two World Population Conferences, in Bucharest in 1974 as a representative of the Dallas Times Herald, and in Mexico City in 1984.
Ladies and gentlemen, our Citizen of the Year is Nancy Wilson. Nancy and her husband, Joe, have been married for 58 years – and counting! Their three kids have given them six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She’s been a member of First United Methodist Church of Richardson since 1976 – that is definitely “and counting!”
She loves her family.
She loves statistics.
And fortunately for all of us, she loves Richardson.
She has shown us, for more than 50 years, how much just one person can accomplish; and how much just a few people can accomplish when Nancy is on their team.
Amy Alexander, Director, Marketing and Communications