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 and member of the Board of Trustees for 25 years.

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

Mr. Wilson 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 Mr. Wilson’s eyes to the appalling lack of rehabilitation services in our state at that time. As he traveled across Mississippi as a businessman, Mr. Wilson saw his family’s predicament repeated everywhere, victims of devastating stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries languished at home who could benefit from intensive rehab or assistive technology. This nurtured a vision that became a guiding force for Mr. Wilson’s philanthropy and service.

Earl Wilson put his faith as a committed Methodist to work as he inspired business and healthcare leaders to come together in 1975 to open to what is now a treasure for Mississippi, a world-class regional rehabilitation center.

The Wilson Foundation has raised and granted more than $6.5 million for meaningful research, technology and advanced education at Methodist Rehab Center. Leading the way in giving are the Wilson family members, who were collectively recognized in 2013 for exceeding $1 million in giving. With many 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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