Dead, Charles Nesbitt “Charlie” Wilson on February 10, 2010 at the age of 76, he was a United States naval officer and former 12-term Democratic United States Representative from Texas’s 2nd congressional district.
He was born in the small town of Trinity, Texas, to Charles Edwin Wilson, an accountant for a local timber company, and Wilmuth (née Nesbitt), a local florist, on June 1, 1933.
Growing up, Wilson attended Trinity public schools and, upon graduation from Trinity High School in 1951, he attended one semester at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, before being appointed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
While at Annapolis, Wilson earned the second most demerits in the history of the academy (his roommate, Robert Mullen, earned the most demerits).
Despite the excessive number of demerits Wilson graduated eighth from the bottom of his class in 1956 with a B. S. in Engineering, specializing in electronics.
According to Wilson himself, he first entered politics as a teenager by running a campaign against his next-door neighbor, city council incumbent Charles Hazard.
When thirteen years old, Wilson’s fourteen-year-old dog entered Hazard’s yard.
Hazard retaliated by mixing crushed glass into the dog’s food, causing fatal internal bleeding.
Following this incident, Wilson obtained a driver’s permit and drove ninety-six voters, primarily black citizens from poor neighborhoods, to the polls in his family’s two-door Chevrolet.
As patrons left the car, Wilson told each of them that he didn’t want to influence their vote, but that the incumbent Hazard had purposely killed his dog.
After Hazard was defeated by a margin of 16 votes, Wilson went to his house to tell him he shouldn’t poison any more dogs. Wilson cited this as “the day [he] fell in love with America.”
Despite not having many, if any, Jewish constituents, Wilson developed a strong relationship with Israel during his entire congressional career.
This bond began during Wilson’s first year in Washington when the Yom Kippur War occurred.
From a young age, Wilson had always supported the “underdog,” and Wilson quickly went to Israel’s defense as a self-proclaimed “Israeli commando.”
While on the Appropriations committee, Wilson increased U.S. aid to Israel to $3 billion annually and in return got continuous campaign contributions from Jews throughout the country.
Later, Wilson’s close ties with Israel enabled him to collaborate with Israeli defense engineers to create and transport man-portable anti-aircraft guns into Pakistan to be used in the Soviet-Afghan War.
Wilson’s enjoyment of parties led him to invest with two Texas businessmen to open the Elan-Washington Club.
This club promised to offer an attractive spot where professionals could get together and relax from a long day at work.
To increase the number of club patrons, Wilson passed out memberships to his congressional colleagues.
Halfway through his passing out memberships, Wilson decided that his actions might not be deemed ethical by congress and commented that he “was ethicized right out of business.”
He retired from Congress in October 1996 and became a lobbyist for Pakistan before retiring to Lufkin.
He donated his congressional papers to Stephen F. Austin State University.
In 1999, he married Barbara Alberstadt, his second wife.
Wilson received a heart transplant in 2007, and continued to follow the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he expressed concerns about events in that region.