SAMUEL HUDSON WILSON, III, was born on 2 February 1932 in Kingston, New York, to Samuel and Eloise Kuhlewind of nearby Woodstock. Sam grew up with his younger sister Nancy in the beautiful Catskill Mountain area, attending what was then Woodstock's one-room school. There he demonstrated his lifelong desire to excel by learning the next grade's lessons, thus allowing him to ultimately skip a grade. Later, he would travel 15 miles each way to attend Kingston High School, where his father had graduated before him and his own three children would follow.
Living only an hour's drive from West Point, at an early age Sam became aware of the Military Academy and the opportunities it afforded for a good education. Through his own growing desire and determination, and with the recommendation of Senator Arthur Wicks, he was accepted for the Military Academy, Class of 1954.
Sam's experience at the Military Academy had a profound impact on his life. He often expressed his belief that it was at West Point that he had mastered self-discipline and the ability to prioritize problems and that these both contributed to his success in later life.
Upon graduation from the Military Academy, Sam was commissioned in the Air Force and assigned for flight training in Bainbridge, Georgia, and later in Loredo, Texas. After receiving his wings, he was assigned as an F-86 pilot in the 324th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Air Defense Command at Westover Air Force Base in Springfield, Massachusetts.
While in the Air Force, Sam met and fell in love with Marie L. Schacht of White Plains, New York. They were married in Kingston in September 1956. Their first child, Lloyd, was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1957 while Sam was on assignment at Westover Air Base.
In September 1958, Sam resigned his commission and entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pursue a master's degree in industrial management. After graduation, he accepted a position in personnel administration with the New York Telephone Company. After several rewarding assignments and promotions with the telephone company, including traffic superintendent, he accepted an offer from IBM that led to nearly a quarter century of increasingly responsible personnel management assignments. Sam had been attracted to IBM by its progressive personnel policies, which coincided so well with his personal standards of fairness.
As Sam's career flourished at IBM, so did his family with the birth of two daughters, Karyn in 1959 and Lynda in 1966. His family increasingly became the focus of his life. While the children were very young, he built a lakefront home in Vermont where the family would swim and sail in the summer and ski the nearby slopes in the winter. Those were vigorous days of family warmth and growth. Yet, even with the attention paid to family and career, Sam possessed a genius for nurturing friendships. Frequent correspondence and visits kept him in touch with the many friends he had made throughout his life. It can truly be said that Sam did not have former friends. Once you were his friend, you were his friend for life. And even when you had been apart for a considerable time, when he visited you or you were a guest of his in Kingston or Vermont, it was as if you have never been parted.
At IBM Kingston, Sam moved through a series of personnel management positions, including recruiting manager and manager of compensation. In 1977, he was promoted to manager of personnel administration at division headquarters in White Plains. In 1985, he was advanced to the position of manager of executive resources in Kingston.
In 1988, while in that position, Sam was selected as one of 49 IBM employees to participate in the IBM Faculty Loan Program. This program provides participants an opportunity to teach or work in a variety of educational environments having a significant focus on minority, handicapped, or disadvantaged students. Sam was loaned to the University of Massachusetts/Boston to help develop and implement in the College of Management the Educational Opportunity Program to attract and retain minority students. Sam visited local high schools to generate student interest and area corporations to raise funds and obtain internships for students.
Eager to pursue the implementation of the program beyond the first year's development stage, Sam requested to stay on at the college and was approved by IBM for the 1989-90 academic year.
It was in the autumn of that academic year that Sam learned he had a brain tumor. In spite of failing eyesight, he continued his work with the program while undergoing treatment for his illness. Sam passed away in March 1990. In tribute to the effort and enthusiasm he brought to the program, his family created the Sam Wilson Scholarship Fund, which will provide an annual award to a student entering the Educational Opportunity Program. His family and friends are happy that this will help keep alive the memory of a loving family man, a dedicated professional, and a true friend to countless numbers.