A retirement dinner was recently held for Art Wilson, who served New Community faithfully as board president for 38 years before retiring last fall. He was praised for his tenacity and dedication to helping guide New Community as it grew to become a model to be emulated worldwide.
“Art was part of this whole thing of drawing people in who would get things done,” said Monsignor William J. Linder, the board member who founded New Community in 1968. “People respected him for his knowledge.”
Wilson joined the board in 1972 and rose to become president two years later. He was at the helm of the board as New Community established itself in housing development and then branched out into other areas like job training, education and health care.
“I am overwhelmed and in awe,” said Wilson, 68, after listening to others praise his steady leadership during the dinner. “My years on the board were extremely, extremely enriched by Father Linder.”
The dinner at the Spanish Tavern in Newark was also filled with many amusing stories about Wilson’s days as principal at the former St. Rose of Lima School in Newark. Wilson served in that position for 34 years.
“Mr. Wilson was my principal. I used to drive Mr. Wilson crazy,” said Edgar Nemorin, an NCC board member, recalling the time he once left the playground during recess and walked to his home three blocks away, all without permission. “Boy did I get it the next day,” he laughed.
Monsignor, who retired as pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church last June, said Wilson was known for his “lecturing” of students who had misbehaved, noting most would have opted for a spanking instead.
But everyone agreed that Wilson has a presence about him that immediately gets one’s attention and commands respect.
“All Mr. Wilson has to do is stand up behind the podium in church. The message is clear. The whole church will be quiet,” said Veronica Onwunaka, Director of Nursing at Extended Care and a member of St. Rose.
Wilson is taking in more theater than ever and doing more traveling since his retirement. He is planning to travel to the Holy Land in the fall.
New Community thanks Art Wilson for his many years of dedicated service to the organization. Your contributions will have a lasting impact.