OBITUARY: Malcolm Wetherill Wilson

Malcolm Wetherill Wilson

Malcolm Wetherill Wilson passed away on Nov. 15, 2021, in Grand Junction, Colorado, with his family at his side. He was born on Aug. 20, 1935, in Martinez, California, to George and Hestia (Smith) Wilson.

He is loved and missed by his wife, Loris, children George Michael and Kimleah Collins, their spouses, his five grandchildren and his five great-grandchildren (with another on the way). He is survived by his brother, Mahlon, and will be laid to rest near his sister, Margaret, in the Nucla-Naturita Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Nucla, Colorado.

Malcolm’s parents moved back to Montrose County, Colorado, when he was an infant. He was raised in Nucla where he graduated from Nucla High School. He attended the University of Colorado in Boulder for three years before changing majors and finishing at Western State College in Gunnison with a B.A. in Education.

While living in Nucla, Malcolm was an active member of the community and very involved in the volunteer fire department. He also taught junior high in Nucla for several years before accepting a teaching position in the American Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, upon arrival there he and his young family found the school and housing that were supposed to be ready were not completed. They moved to nearby Miami, Florida, where Malcolm taught junior high school. He worked on his M.A. from Western State College during the summer months. The family then moved to Tucson, Arizona, where Malcolm earned his Ed.D. from the University of Arizona while also teaching junior high school.

Malcolm was a passionate teacher and professional educator. After finishing graduate school, he joined the faculty at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, California. He was a professor there for one year before being presented with a unique opportunity through a USAID program collaboration with the University. Malcolm and his family moved to Africa where he was involved with the startup of the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. While living in Botswana, he developed teaching programs and worked directly with headmasters in rural towns and villages in each of the three countries.

Malcolm returned to teach on the Cal Poly campus two and a half years later when the USAID collaboration ended. He subsequently transitioned into administrative leadership roles at the University. In 1985, Malcolm received a University Commendation granted by the University’s Academic Senate for his professional contributions to the Office of the Vice Provost, his leadership, and his distinguished service. The same year marked the start of his involvement with the establishment of EARTH University in Costa Rica. He worked with EARTH University for several years, even after retiring. Malcolm, for his contributions, was invited back to Costa Rica in December, 2016 to be conferred the title of Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa.

In 1987, Malcolm was named the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Senior Vice President. He retired from Cal Poly in 1990 with the title of Senior Vice President Emeritus. A few years later, Malcolm and Loris moved back to Nucla where they resided until health issues made it necessary for them to stay in Grand Junction, Colorado.

A celebration of life is planned from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, to be held at the fire station at 555 Main Street in Nucla, Colorado.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution on Malcolm’s behalf are asked to consider donating to one of the following:

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