Cover photo for James Wilson's Obituary
James Wilson Profile Photo
1938 James 2024

James Wilson

October 4, 1938 — March 23, 2024


James Edward "Jim" Wilson died peacefully at his Taylor home on March 23, 2024. Jim was born October 4,1938 to Granville and Ulis (Hyde) Wilson in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During his early childhood, his family moved to Sells, Arizona, on the Tohono O'odham Nation. After junior high school, Jim boarded with a family in Tucson and attended Tucson High School. Following high school graduation, Jim served as a corpsman in the United States Navy, stationed at Balboa Park in San Diego.

Returning to Phoenix after his discharge, Jim met the love of his life, Judy Diehl. They married in 1961, and Jim went to work for the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a fish culturist at the Tonto Fish Hatchery east of Payson. He and Judy, and baby son, William Edward, lived there for a year, off the two-lane dirt road that was Highway 260, before returning to the Valley where Jim worked as a police officer for the City of Tempe.

When an opening became available with the Arizona Highway Patrol, now the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), Jim applied and was stationed in Snowflake. Jim lived the rest of his life in Taylor. During those first years in the early 1960s, he worked six days a week, nine hours a day, and was on call 24-7. Still, his sons - Robert James "Bob" joined the family in 1964 and James Edward "Ed" in 1969 - recall that he always had time to take them fishing, hunting or team roping.

During his twenty years with DPS, Jim began coordinating and conducting in-service training classes for law enforcement officers through Northland Pioneer College (NPC). After retiring from DPS, and with the help of NPC Vice president Arvin Palmer, he developed a full-scale law enforcement academy at NPC. This academy has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers across Navajo and Apache counties. As Director of the Criminal Justice program at NPC, Jim also coordinated a paralegal program and numerous in-service training and community interest classes.

In 2002, Jim decided to retire "for good" to enjoy life with Judy, raising and racing American Quarter Horses, spending time with family, and watching the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jim is survived by his wife, Judy, sons Will (Kim) Wilson of Snowflake, Bob (Mary) Wilson of Show Low, and Ed (Betsy) Wilson of Taylor, grandsons Pete and John Wilson, granddaughters Kaylen Wilson and Nichole "Nicki" (Riley) Estes, and three great-grandchildren: Ronan, Declan, and Eden Estes.

At Jim's request, there will be no services.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Wilson, please visit our flower store.


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