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James H. Wilson

August 24, 1943 ~ February 20, 2018 (age 74)


James (Jim) H. Wilson, age 74, of Merced, California, passed away on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at his home surrounded by his family.  Born August 24, 1943, in Oswego, New York, he was the son of the late Horace (Jack) Wilson and Helen (LaPlant) Wilson.  Jim spent his childhood in Minetto, New York, where he loved the outdoors; swimming, boating, and fishing in the Oswego River, playing golf, baseball and ice hockey, and reenacting Robin Hood in the hardwood forest across the street from his home with his friends and his dog, Queenie.  Jim graduated from Oswego High School and attended Union College, receiving a degree in Economics.  After graduating college, he enlisted as an officer in the United States Navy and served three and a half years as a Lieutenant j.g. on the U.S.S. Chippola during the Vietnam War.  While in the Navy, Jim met his wife of 50 years, Sharon Lynn Kirkendall, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  They married on March 2, 1968 in Newman, California.  Jim attended law school at Santa Clara University.  He began practicing in San Jose, California, and then moved to Merced where he joined the law firm Canelo, Hansen and Wilson in 1978.  He stayed with the firm for 36 years until he retired in 2014.  Jim lived life to the fullest through simple pleasures; he was an avid reader, he enjoyed going out to coffee and chatting with friends, and he loved to travel with his wife Sharon, exploring new foods and cultures.  Jim’s greatest accomplishment, and his heart and joy, was being a loving husband, dad and Papa. He will forever be remembered by his family for his wisdom and guidance, his patience, his heart of gold, and the huge, infectious grin he wore so often.  Jim is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sharon, his two daughters, Melissa and Jamey (Cory), his three grandchildren,  GraceAnn (Gracie) and Madelyn (Maddy) and Moe, his great-grandson, Michael (Mikey), and his sister, Lorna Verdone.  A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Central Presbyterian Church, 1920 Canal Street, Merced, California.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jim’s name to Friends of the Merced County Library, P. O. Box 2463, Merced, CA 95344-0463 or to the Central California SPCA at



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