GLENARDEN – Former Prince George’s County Councilman Marvin F. Wilson, who served the community for more than 40 years, died Wednesday afternoon at the age of 81. Wilson served on the County Council for two consecutive terms from 1994 to 2002, following his time as the ninth Glenarden city mayor in 1991. He also served […]
GLENARDEN – Former Prince George’s County Councilman Marvin F. Wilson, who served the community for more than 40 years, died Wednesday afternoon at the age of 81.
Wilson served on the County Council for two consecutive terms from 1994 to 2002, following his time as the ninth Glenarden city mayor in 1991. He also served as a community activist as chairman of the Citizens for a Better Government group at the start of his career to ensure community development and unity.
“For more than 40 years, Marvin Wilson served the people of Prince George’s County, tirelessly advocating for citizens young and old, and such quality of life issues as economic development, education, housing, public safety and recreation,” said County Council Chairman Mel Franklin.
Wilson acted as a “community servant” to many, said Tonya Wilson, his oldest daughter. Tonya said her father would always say, “As long as I help somebody,” when completing a task, and served as a selfless, encouraging father figure to anyone in the community.
“Daddy never wanted recognition,” Tonya said. “He would just be the one who did it…He never turned his back on anybody.”
Wilson was one of the main visionaries for the initiative to create the Marvin F. Wilson Stadium, which is named after him, as well as the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Tonya said.
The stadium and complex include a track and field area, turf field for sports practices and events, and a learning center for community members, said Andrea Harrison, the current District 5 county councilwoman.
“He was adamant that it would be not just a rec center, but that it would be a sports and learning center,” Harrison said.
After growing up in and living in Southeast Washington, D.C., Wilson moved to Glenarden in 1964 with his wife and spent the rest of his 51 years there, Tonya said.
“I’ve been very strong in this whole thing,” she said. “My sadness intersects with my gratitude – I’m so grateful to have had him in my life.”
From 1970 to 1991, Wilson served on the Glenarden City Council before serving as the city’s mayor for three years until 1994. Wilson took over the mayoral seat in 1991 after James Fletcher Jr. vacated his position to serve on the county council.
Harrison, who said she knew Wilson for her entire life, said anyone who knew Wilson could tell he held the county community members as his top priority.
“Mr. Wilson’s passing represents a deep personal loss for me and for the residents our community,” said Harrison, Fletcher’s daughter. “As will so many others, I will miss the leadership, guidance, mentorship and friendship of Marvin Wilson; but I am forever grateful for the lessons Mr. Wilson taught us about reaching beyond our grasp, working well together, fighting for the people and fighting for what is right. It is now our responsibility to keep his legacy alive.”
The county council appointed Wilson as councilman in July 1994, after Fletcher died. Wilson began his first full term November 1994 and won reelection in 1998.
“Today, we mourn a champion for the residents of District 5 and across the entire County; but we also celebrate his deep commitment, relentless advocacy and compassion, and we offer our sincere appreciation for the devoted service of Marvin Wilson,” Franklin said.
Wilson is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Verley; his daughters Tonya Wilson and Donna Wilson; a son-in-law James Barker; and two grandchildren—Michelle Jeffries-Barker and Curtis Jeffries Jr.
“I’m at peace,” Tonya said. “It’s not a sad day, but it’s a celebration. He went peacefully.”