Arthur passed away on 4 November 2018, after a long struggle with dementia. His widow Elizabeth kindly supplied us with this obituary:
The Reverend Arthur Guy Ross Wilson was born in Leeds on 2 March 1928, and was very proud of his Yorkshire roots. He moved to Oxford at the age of two and a half years. His father was responsible for the Oxford bypass.
Arthur followed his brother Kenneth, six and a half years his senior, to MCS. He was very much into acting and apparently played a very good Hamlet in a school production. He was also the preacher at one of the school founder’s days.
He loved and cherished his days at MCS. After school he went into the army, and was posted out to Singapore, which he loved. In fact, he loved life and lived it to the full. I’m sure his steadfast faith plus his schooling gave him great confidence to be the person he was.
His acting came to the fore again in Singapore. He broadcast on the radio, and was being tested for being a newsreader. That came to a quick end when, whilst reading the news, he had to read on the spot about the High Commissioner of Japan, with an unpronounceable name, who was to visit Singapore! However, that didn’t stop him broadcasting during his time there. After the army he went into acting in a serious way, training at the Old Vic, Bristol. He did quite a bit of drama on stage and radio, but his main work was with the mobile Century Theatre, which he loved.
His call to ordination came next but in between acting and the church he spent a year at Lee Abbey in Lynton, Devon, a Christian conference centre. It was at the Abbey that we met. During the month of August, they ran great camping holidays, right down by the sea. He was asked to be the chaplain and I was the cook. That was the beginning of our romance in the early ‘60s – in fact, we were married by the warden of Lee Abbey, who we looked upon as our Father in God.
We were married 54 years ago in Darlington parish church. He was a priest in the Church of England for 60 years, and was also a chaplain to several mental hospitals. For about three months he filled in for the chaplain at Broadmoor Hospital, which he dearly loved. He said that he never felt so free – not because they were prisoners, but because their lives were so traumatic and often not knowing where they were going, talking with them about their need for God was much more acceptable and acted upon. Good old C of E congregations have a tendency to switch off. It was one of his happiest times, he sang up and down the corridors, and often the prisoners waved and joined in.
Parishes he served in were up and down the country, starting as a curate at Old Bexley in Kent, then to Gravesend, Bradford, Cumbria and Menston near Leeds. He retired three times, but kept on being asked to comeback by parishes that were short of clergy, the last being a House for Duty post at Hopwas, Tamworth, where we eventually retired to an apartment at Damson Court. He loved it here because we had a ground floor apartment and could look and walk straight onto the garden. ‘Isn’t God wonderful’, he would say. ‘How blessed we are to live here.’
We have five wonderful children, two of them abroad – our youngest son in Israel, our youngest daughter in New Zealand, and the other three up and down England. They all managed to get to see him during his illness, dementia. Although he suffered for eight years, he managed to chat and laugh. He died suddenly and quite peacefully.
To sum him up, I would say God very definitely came first in his life, then family, friends, the homeless, anyone in need were pretty equal. He wasn’t perfect, spoke his mind, he said, like a true Yorkshire man, but he was dearly loved by so very many.