Former New York State Senator and WCBS-TV political reporter Jerome Wilson, a longtime Essex resident, has died. Born in 1931, Wilson, 88, passed away at Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, on Nov. 1 due to complications from pneumonia.
As a young anti-war and civil rights activist, he was elected to serve three terms in the legislature, part of a reform movement backed by Eleanor Roosevelt. He shared an office suite with then fellow State Senator Constance Baker Motley, who later became the first black woman federal judge (and who had a vacation home in Chester). Wilson went on to be a successful journalist and attorney.
After retiring from work as a First Amendment lawyer for the New York State Newspaper Publishers Association in 2007, he was an active presence in Essex and neighboring communities. Wilson was known for his wit and probing questions, reporting local stories for online news sites on everything from the Pettipaug Yacht Club to local development proposals and elections, and even his knee surgery.
He spearheaded the popular “Lectures on the Sea” series at the Essex Public Library, wrote several books of sonnets, and enjoyed sailing the Long Island Sound and other waters for years.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Essex Public Library. In addition to his wife, the former Ursula Anna Thron, he is survived by four daughters from his first marriage, two stepsons, six grandchildren, and four step-grandchildren.
His memorial service will be held on Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church in Essex.