Earl R. Wilson: A Legacy of Hope

Every dream fulfilled begins with someone who sees a need, imagines a solution and works tirelessly to bring that vision to life. For Methodist Rehabilitation Center, that dreamer and doer was Earl R. Wilson – the hospital’s founding chairman of the board, a position he held for 32 years until his passing in 2000.  

The Wilson Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports MRC, was established in 1989 with a generous gift from the H.F. McCarty Jr. Family.  Mr. McCarty asked that the Foundation be named to honor Earl and his wife, Martha.

Earl knew firsthand how families are affected by a loved one’s disabling injury or illness. His own father suffered a stroke at a young age, and his struggles opened Earl's eyes to the appalling lack of rehabilitation services in Mississippi at that time. As he traveled the state as a businessman, Earl saw his family’s predicament repeated everywhere, victims of devastating stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries languishing at home who could benefit from intensive rehab or assistive technology. This nurtured a vision that became a guiding force for his philanthropy and service.

The United Methodist Church (Mississippi Conference) sponsored the incorporation of MRC in 1967, naming Earl as chairman, and he worked tirelessly until the center's opening in 1975. Earl put his faith as a committed Methodist to work, inspiring many business and healthcare leaders to come together to build something truly special -- a nationally recognized rehab and research center. His proudest moment came shortly before his death when Methodist Rehab was named one of America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.  Earl's spirit lives on through this tremendous legacy. 

Thanks to our generous investors, the Wilson Research Foundation has raised millions of dollars for meaningful research, technology and advanced education at Methodist Rehab. Leading the way in giving are the Wilson family members, who have been collectively recognized for exceeding $1 million in giving. With other major gifts and public support coming to fruition, the Wilson Research Foundation has established Methodist Rehab as a center of excellence, restoring ability and hope - not only for our patients - but for people around the world helped through our published discoveries.   

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