Benjamin Franklin Wilson
June 24, 1939 - August 7, 2020
Benjamin Franklin Wilson affectionately known as “Sonny or Big Ben” was born June 24, 1939 in Washington, D.C. and departed this life suddenly on August 7, 2020. His late parents Bessie and Roosevelt Wilson, Sr. were born and raised in Newberry, South Carolina and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1935. He was preceded in death by his four siblings Mildred Russell, Roosevelt Wilson, Jr., Thelma McKinney, and Ricardo Wilson.
Sonny was educated in the District of Columbia Public Schools System. He was baptized on February 5, 1950 at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church. He joined the U.S. Army in 1963. In the early 1960s he married his wife Beverly (deceased) with marriage ending in divorce and no children born from their union. He served two years Active duty and four years in the Reserves and was honorably discharged. He was extremely proud of his service to his country. His last duty assignment was in Fort Hood, Texas – Company C, 2nd 45th Infantry First Armed Division (PFC). His Specialty Title was LT. WPNS Infantry. His Decorations included: Sharp Shooter M-4, Rifle & Pistol Driver Badge as well as First Class Gunner M-60. His professional memberships include: Disabled American Veterans, Colonel Charles Young Chapter 3.
In civilian life he worked for many years with his late brother-in-law Marion Russell at Anna Marie Italian Restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. He also worked for several years for Gold Line Bus service. His favorite job was his self-employment as a vendor on First and Rhode Island Avenue. He continued residing on First Street taking care of his parents until their deaths with the help of his close long-time friend Hilda Boston who had remained a friend for over 46 years. He also helped to raise his two great nephews Nathaniel (Petey) and Ricardo (Tee) Haskins. He loved his family and friends dearly of whom he had many. He also had a long-term friendship of 60 plus years with Ms. Ethel Lee Waters and her five children who are his God-children. Ms. Ethel preceded him in death in 2019. He always mentioned a very close relationship to her family especially Bridgette and her husband Aalim Turner who watched out for him until the day before his sudden passing. His nephew Ricardo (Tee) Haskins has been a strong support in his latter years. Both Tee and his niece Sheila McKinney were with him during his transition.
Sonny loved riding his Harley motorcycle in his younger years before retiring it for his Harley truck (the Little Hog). He loved going fishing, eating crabs, and cooking special dishes. He loved listening to WPFW Radio and Country Western music. He loved to watch TV especially his soap operas, Judge Judy, and without a doubt his Westerns. For years, Sonny was known as the unofficial Mayor of First Street, N.W. He was loved by everyone in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. He was a daily fixture on his front porch always laughing and talking to people. He loved a good joke and his laugh was infectious. He loved entertaining in his younger years especially with his late brother-in-law CJ McKinney and his late cousin Jimmy Brooks, they were the three Amigos.
Sonny loved to go on road trips with his long-time friend Nelson who currently lives in New York who would talk to him every single day like clockwork for the last 15 years. Although he was a native Washingtonian, 20 years ago, Sonny sold his home on First Street in Washington, D.C. and purchased a home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He loved his new home and his neighbors in his new close-knit senior community. He developed many strong relationships with his neighbors and they always looked out for him. Mr. Jackson was a part of this elite group who talked with him several times a day and would help him whenever he needed assistance. Sonny’s constant companion was his 18 year old Siamese cat name Max . He dearly loved his cat who was a lot of company to him. He is currently being taken care of by family.
His niece Joy MacKall and her husband McKinley would often come over to visit him. Joy would be entertained by Sonny’s storytelling and jokes while her husband did handyman repairs. Over the last few years, as his health declined, he became a champion catalog shopper. He ordered so many gadgets and appliances. We used to joke with him about how prepared he was for any kind of emergency. If he could use a computer he would have been Amazon Prime customer of the year!
Sonny was an avid sports fan. He especially loved the Redskins, boxing, and wrestling. He enjoyed good cooking and a cold beer every now and then. He lived a long, happy, life until his health started to decline which caused him to stay home more and sit on his front porch talking to his neighbors. Sonny was a gentle giant. He always kept a positive and upbeat outlook and he was an excellent storyteller. He had a sharp memory and keen ability to recall so much from his past. It was so much fun to talk to him, he was like the family historian. If you asked him how he was doing, his reply would be “I woke up this morning and was able to put my size 13 feet on the floor so I’m alright.” Then he would say, “Please give my regards, tell everyone I said hello.”
Sonny is survived by the following nieces and nephews: Ricardo (Pony) Haskins, Petey Nathaniel Haskins, Sheila McKinney, Joy (McKinley) Mackall, Renee (Kevin) Harrison, Carolyn Stearns, Jeffrey (Desi) McKinney, Jonathan (Kena) McKinney, Curtis (Ulinda) McKinney, Adriene (Todd) Wilson Cross, Zachary Wilson, April (Absylom) Nyamekye, Rodney (Marva) Russell, Michael Russell, and Craig Russell, five God-children: Bridgette, Pauline, Angie, Michael, and Marcella, and a host of other family and friends.
In accordance with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by the state we will be limited to a capacity of 50 attendees in the service.
Services will be streamed live @ RNHorton.com/livestream
R.N. Horton Company Morticians, INC
600 Kennedy St, NW
Washington, DC 20011
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