Wilson dies at age 70

BRIDGEPORT – Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson died Sunday afternoon in a Florida hospital following complications associated with a stroke suffered in February.

The Wilson family, which was at his side, released the following statement:

”Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of Southeast and East Ohio. Congressman Wilson served with honor, dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region.

”Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations. For 14 years, southeast and eastern Ohio had a champion serving as their voice in Columbus and Washington and our communities are better places for his service.”

Funeral details are not yet available.

Wilson was born Jan. 18, 1943, in Dillonvale. He was a small business owner of companies throughout the Ohio Valley.

While still in college at Ohio University in Athens, Wilson worked as a UAW member on the assembly line at the Ford auto plant in Lorain.

In 1996, Wilson was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served until 2004, when he was elected to the Ohio Senate. After two years in the Senate, he won a write-in campaign in 2006, filling the congressional seat vacated by newly elected Gov. Ted Strickland.

In 2010, he was defeated in a re-election bid by current U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.

”Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state Legislature and in Congress,” Johnson said in a release issued Sunday evening.

Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern also released a statement.

”It is with much sadness that the people of Ohio mourn the loss of Congressman Charlie Wilson,” Redfern said. ”I served with Charlie in the State Legislature for six years and he was a loyal friend in good times and bad.

”An outspoken advocate for working people, Charlie never wavered in his service to his constituents or his lifelong pursuit to help improve the lives of others. Congressman Wilson will be missed by all those that had the pleasure to meet him and know his kindness. My thoughts and prayers are with Angela Hatfield and the entire Wilson family.”

Wilson was the father of four sons and grandfather of nine.

Wilson was re-admitted to the hospital Saturday night. The fatal hemorrhage followed a stroke suffered Feb. 21 while Wilson was vacationing in Florida. Wilson was in recovery at the Cornell Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine.

The family asks contributions be made in memory of Wilson to the Congressman Charlie Wilson Leadership Program at Ohio University Eastern.

Contributions can be sent to:

Congressman Charlie Wilson Leadership Program

c/o Ohio University Eastern

Dean’s Office

45425 National Road W.

St. Clairsville, OH 43950

Funeral details are not yet available.