PGMS Announces the Passing of E. Earl Wilson

The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) mourns the death of E. Earl Wilson, past president of the society, who passed away on Saturday, July 22, 2006. Wilson was instrumental in forming an alliance between PGMS, Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCCA) and Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) to host a joint trade show for the Green Industry now known as the Green Industry Exposition (GIE).

He was also an important figure in promoting grounds management as a profession. “Earl was a very dear friend of mine and an extraordinary mentor for so many people in the Green Industry. He was just a genuine, outstanding human to every single person he ever met. He was an unbelievable guy as far as leadership and moving our industry forward in getting people to realize the professionalism of the industry,” remembers past PGMS president Tom Smith of Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery.

At the age of 18, Wilson enlisted in the Marines, serving his country for four years. Upon his return, he entered Ohio State University. After graduation, Earl joined up with Bill Thorton to form the Thorton Wilson Company. Dealing with horticulture sales and distribution, his professional career was dedicated to his company as well as PGMS. Ted Schull, a long-time friend remembers, “He was always so dedicated and could always lend a helping hand. Earl was one of the greatest guys I have ever known and truly helped so many people throughout his life.”

To honor his contributions, PGMS established the E. Earl Wilson Award—its highest honor—in 2004. “Earl was gentleman’s gentleman. He was a tremendous asset to not only PGMS but the Green Industry as a whole, being one of the primary facilitators of the GIE. His leadership of PGMS and the GIE will have an impact on all of the members and attendees for many years to come,” said Villanova University’s Kevin O’Donnell, the award’s sole recipient since its creation. “I was honored to meet Earl and his lovely wife Gene on several occasions at PGMS meetings and they were always very gracious and supportive of PGMS and its’ members.”

Tom Shaner, executive director of PGMS, said “Earl's contribution to PGMS and the Green Industry will long be remembered. We are hoping the implementation of the E. Earle Wilson Award as well as the continued progress of programs he established will honor his outstanding contributions to PGMS and the Green Industry.”

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