Mr. Wilson died on Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Bowling Green.
Leo was the son of the late Robert Estill and Verdya Marie Shanks Wilson of Cerulean.
Following graduation in 1938, the first class of Trigg County High School, he studied radio engineering and broadcasting. After earning his first class radio-telephone operators license at National Radio Schools, in Los Angeles, Calif. In 1940, Leo joined Ernest “Dutch” Lackey in signing on Hopkinsville’s first fulltime commercial radio station, WHOP 1230. With time outs for World War II and Korea as Radio Mechanic Chief Petty Officer US Navy, he worked there twenty years, adding 98.7 FM after the war.
The next 20 years, heading his own company as Contract Engineer, he had a part in putting on 1370 WABD (later WJMR, WJQL, and now WEGI-AM). The upgrade of Q-108, service on WDXN 540, Clarksville, Tenn., (now WKFN “The Fan” ESPN Sports), plus other radio stations in Henderson, Russellville, Cadiz, Murray and Hopkinsville installing the first automation in this area. Leo also upgraded several FMs to higher power, including the original “Beaver” in Russellville.
Leo was also a well known announcer, as originator of the “Early Birds” program on WHOP, “The Mailbox Roundup” and in sports excelled in broadcasting play by play high school football, basketball, the Kitty League “Hoptown Hoppers” baseball team, and the service football teams at Ft. Campbell. Many of those in the service league played professional football in the NFL.
Leo was honored by the Kentucky Broadcaster’s Association in 2006 with the Lifetime Membership Award. He and his wife Mary lived in Hopkinsville until November 2011, when they moved to an assisted living facility in Bowling Green.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Wilson; one sister, Agnes Hillyard of Farmington, Mich.; one brother, Wilburn Wilson (and wife Jo Ann) of Cadiz; one daughter, Dr. Mollye Wilson of Bowling Green; and three nieces, Valarie Mitchell of Michigan, Donna Jo Brashears of Cerulean and Deborah Anderson of Trigg County.