06/03/2015 - Kenneth D. Wilson, former APWU Clerk Craft Director, passed away on June 1. He was 82.
Known throughout the union as a “Turtle,” Wilson often greeted brothers and sisters with the question, “Are you a Turtle?” He laughed uproariously if got his preferred response: “You bet your sweet a--.”
Wilson joined the United Federation of Postal Clerks, a predecessor of the APWU, as soon as he was hired at the Omaha, NE, Post Office in June 1956. His first union position was editor of the Omaha Area Local newspaper.
Wilson was elected president of the local in 1965 and was credited with strengthening the organization. Working on a typewriter in his basement, Wilson led the development of the local constitution and negotiated the local agreement. Today, the Omaha Area Local office is named the Kenny Wilson Union Hall.
In 1972 Wilson become one of the first national officers of newly-formed APWU when he was elected Wichita Area Vice President. He later served as Assistant Clerk Craft Director and Clerk Craft Director, a position he held until he retired in 1992. As Clerk Director, Wilson negotiated much of Article 37 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and settled many national-level grievances.
When asked in 2011, what his greatest accomplishment was, Wilson said his proudest moment came while running for treasurer of a bowling league. The league’s constitution required that bowlers be white, but, through his efforts, the discriminatory racial restriction was removed.
After retirement, Wilson remained an active APWU member, regularly attending union events.
Wilson is survived by his wife, Etta Nielson Wilson, five children, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two brothers. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Etta Wilson and Family, 104 Andulusian Trail, Simpsonville, SC 29681.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 6, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Community of Christ Church, 18 Cunningham Road, Taylors, SC 29687, with burial to follow in Cannon Memorial Park. The family will receive friends on Friday, June 5, 2015, from 6-8 p.m. at Cannon Funeral Home, Fountain Inn.
Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.