Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Joseph Madison “Jay” Wilson

Mr. Joseph Madison “Jay” Wilson, 87, of Karnak, passed away at 11:17 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at Baptist Health in Paducah, Kentucky with his loving family by his side.

Jay was born in Karnak, Illinois on March 25, 1935 as the youngest of three children to Lee Benhigam Wilson and Bonnie Claris (Kean) Wilson. His elder siblings are Patsy Sue (Tapley) Wilson and Lee Ray Wilson (Deceased).

He attended elementary and high schools in Karnak, and college at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He enlisted in the United States Army in the Spring of 1957 and married his loving wife, Peggy Willeen (Niemeyer) Wilson on November 1, 1957 in Colorado Springs, Colorado while stationed at Fort Carson. Over the next 5 years Jay and Peggy welcomed a beautiful daughter and two sons, who became the most important parts of their lives.

Following his tour of duty Jay returned to Karnak to work alongside his father, at Wilson’s Food Mart, the family-owned business. For more than 40 years, Jay and his wife operated a grocery store and restaurant which was an integral part of their hometown community

Jay was a devoted father and an avid golfer. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, billiards, training his hunting dogs and playing the piano. He was a member of the Karnak United Methodist Church, the Karnak Lions Club, and the Mounds Country Club. He will be most remembered for his outgoing personality, his crazy hats and shenanigans, and his love for family and friends.

Jay is survived by his wife, Peggy (Niemeyer) Wilson; his children, Chandra Dawn Anderson (Brent), Joseph Chad Wilson (Tom Hart) and Tadge Wilson (Tammy); his sister, Patsy Sue Tapley (Gene); his grandchildren, Wesley Ray Anderson , Raegan Lee Anderson (Cara Baltzell) and Haley Jayne Anderson (Amanda); his great grandchildren, Hayden Rae Anderson, and Tadge Anderson; his beloved family member, Chris Helton and a host of loving family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Lee Benhigam Wilson and Bonnie Claris (Kean) Wilson; and his brother, Lee Ray Wilson.

Funeral services honoring the life of Mr. Joseph Madison “Jay” Wilson will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the United Methodist Church in Karnak, Illinois with visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m. Reverend Stephen Heisner will officiate. Interment will follow the service at the Cypress Cemetery in Cypress, Illinois. In lieu of flower’s, memorial donations can be made to the United Methodist Church in Karnak, Illinois.

Pallbearers will be, Chuck Peck, Chuck Evers, Wesley Anderson, Tom Hart, Jeff Helm and Scott Tapley. Honorary pallbearers will be Tadge Anderson and Hayden Anderson.

Military graveside honors will be accorded by the United States Army National Guard Funeral Detail Team.

To leave an online message with the family you can also visit our website at

Wilson Funeral Home in Karnak has been entrusted with arrangements.

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