Gary A. Wilson, PhD, died unexpectedly at age 77 at his home in New Haven, CT on April 14, 2020. Dr. Wilson was one of the scientists who discovered the technology which made DNA cloning possible in the late 1970s. He was a participant in the Asilomar Moratorium on genetic engineering in 1975, where, for the first time, standards were set allowing geneticists to push research to its limits without endangering public health. Dr. Wilson was born in Chicago, IL, on December 13, 1942, one of three children of Merlin and Giorgina Kemp Wilson. The eldest child Bruce died in 1972 and Dr. Wilson’s twin sister, Karen Koszut, was the victim of a car accident in 1994.
He graduated Chicago’s Blue Island High School; received his Masters in Education at Illinois State University at Normal, IL; and received a PhD in microbial genetics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Wilson then performed his post-doctoral work at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry under the direction of Frank E. Young , MD, PhD. Subsequently Dr. Wilson joined the faculty at the University of Rochester. Dr. Young later became Commissioner of the FDA under the Reagan administration. Dr. Wilson's professional career in biotechnology research in the pharmaceutical industry continued up to the time off his death. Dr. Wilson is survived by his wife of 35 years, Karen Wollweber Wilson of New Haven, CT; his son Andrew Paul Wilson, who owns a video production company; his daughter-in-law Stephanie Bird Wilson, Media Studies Professor at Castleton University; his grandchildren Steven Paul Wilson, age 19, who is pursuing a Composing degree at Berklee College of Music, and Catherine Grace Wilson, age 6, and his former wife, Mary Current Wilson, all of Pittsford, Vermont. Dr. Wilson is also survived by his niece, Katie Koszut, a photographer in Phoenix, AZ.
Dr. Wilson was a committed community advocate in many local organizations including New Haven Reads, Long Wharf Theatre, and the New Haven Lawn Club where his service, dedication, and mischievous sense of humor will be greatly missed. We have lost a prince of a man who will be remembered every day.
A memorial service in New Haven will be planned when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Contributions in lieu of flowers will be announced at that time. MARESCA & SONS FUNERAL HOME 592 Chapel St. New Haven is in charge of arrangements
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