James Winfrey Wilson III, an Alabama business titan, philanthropist, civic leader, beloved husband, adored father, grandfather and friend, died in his home after a brief illness on March 11 in Montgomery, Alabama. He was 59.
Jim was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jim Wilson & Associates (JWA), a Montgomery-based real estate and investment firm with a far-reaching presence across the United States. Jim, along with his brother, Will, successfully expanded JWA and built upon the legacy of the firm’s founder and their father, Jim Wilson Jr.
JWA developed several notable real estate projects including: Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham; the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge; EastChase, a 330-acre development that transformed the real estate market in Montgomery; and Redstone Gateway, a 470-acre business park adjacent to the US Army Post Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. The firm also invested in start-ups and established operating companies, including A&W Enterprises and 42 Equity. In addition, JWA created two residential communities in Montgomery – Wynlakes, a 1,000-acre golf course community, and New Park, a 1,000-acre mixed-use development.
Jim served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama system where he was Chair of the Athletics Committee, and as President of the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital Authority.
A native of Montgomery, Jim was born on June 14, 1963, to Wynona and James Wilson Jr. He graduated from the Montgomery Academy and earned a degree in business administration at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1985, Jim moved to New York City where he worked in commercial real estate at Manufacturers Hanover and met his wife, Susie Forst. Susie and Jim were married on September 26, 1987, in Rye, New York.
A few months after their wedding, Jim went to work for his father at JWA. In 1989, Susie and Jim welcomed their first child, Lillian, and two years later, their second daughter, Wesley. Those who knew Jim knew that his family was truly the love and center of his life.
Jim was a dynamic leader and an impactful philanthropist. He used his time and resources to make life better for so many. In addition to the Alabama Board of Trustees and UAB Health System Board, Jim was the President of Wynlakes Golf and Country Club; and he served on the boards of the American Liver Foundation of Alabama, the Bryant-Jordan Student Athletic Program, the American Sports Medicine Institute, the Business Council of Alabama, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, Baptist Hospital, Boy Scouts of America, First Baptist Church Foundation, Metro YMCA, Tukabatchee Area Council, the Montgomery Council on Aging, the Jackson Hospital Foundation, and as a member of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Jim also supported MANE, an organization that provides life-changing therapeutic horseback riding opportunities to children and adults in the River Region, where Susie is a board member.
Jim will be remembered for his unrivaled charisma, unfiltered humor and unfettered love for his family and friends. Jim was kind, fun, boisterous, and just like his father, an expert in the art of celebration. If you were with Jim Wilson III, you were having a great time.
He was preceded in death by his father, James W. Wilson Jr. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susie; two daughters, Lillian Pascale and Wesley Clingman; mother, Wynona Wilson; siblings, Elizabeth Hunter (Eric), Winston Reese (Gene) and Will Wilson (Kelly); sons in law, Matthew V. Pascale and James F. Clingman IV; and five grandchildren, JW and Nate Pascale, and Lucy, Wyn and Fully Clingman.
The funeral will be held at 10:00AM on Wednesday, March 15, at First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104. A graveside service will follow at Alabama Heritage.
Please donate to MANE in Jim’s memory. Go to the MANE’s website www.maneweb.org or send a check to:
3699 Wallahatchie Road
Pike Road, AL 36064