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Dennis Wilson

Dennis Gerard Robert Wilson Sr.

Saturday, May 4th, 1940 - Friday, November 8th, 2019
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Dennis G. R. Wilson Sr., 79, of Essex Fells, NJ, passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side on Friday, November 8, 2019 at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

Son of the late Gerard and Vivian (Martenis) Wilson, he was born on May 4, 1940 in East Orange, and grew up in Bloomfield and Glen Ridge. He later lived in Caldwell, followed by Essex Fells.

Dennis graduated Glen Ridge High School in 1958, where he was a football All-State Second Team selection as a fullback and linebacker by the Newark Star-Ledger and a Third Team choice by the Newark Evening News. He won the Group I state championship in the shot put and placed third in the discus.

Dennis attended Dartmouth College where he played football and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He then transferred and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Ursinus College in 1963. At Ursinus, Dennis was a member of the Alpha Phi Epsilon fraternity. He was captain and awarded Most Valuable Player of the Ursinus College Track & Field men’s team in 1963, which won the MAC Championship, the first men’s championship in the college’s history.

He received his Master of Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University (F.D.U.) in Marketing and would later serve as an adjunct professor at both F.D.U. and Essex County College.

Over his career, Dennis would spend more than a decade as with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office under Brendan Byrne and Joseph Lordi overseeing special interest investigations. He would go on to be a private sports media entrepreneur. Dennis initiated the financial process that brought the Nets to New Jersey and served as General Chairman of the Official Welcome of the NBA franchise to New Jersey. The event held March 15, 1978, was the first-time a Nets game was televised live in New Jersey.

He also served as President of the Metropolitan New York Football Writers Association, was custodian of the Lambert Awards, and would be the longest serving member of the Gagliardi Trophy selection committee. He was also the architect of the NCAA Division III All Star Game that is now known as the Aztec Bowl and which is now run by the American Football Coaches Association.

As the only three-term President of the West Essex Chamber of Commerce, in 1976 he created the first-ever corporate-sponsored scholastic tournament in the nation--the West Essex Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival Basketball Tournament, featuring four teams and included boys and girls brackets at the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen levels.

He served on the boards of St. Vincent’s Hospital formerly in Montclair, The Bridge, and the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

He loved coaching the Essex Fells Bengals for 10 years and being involved with the West Essex junior wrestling program. He coached numerous little league teams, was Vice President of the West Essex football boosters club, and was involved with the YMCA’s Indian Guides. Throughout his life, he was an avid sports fan, loved football and especially the New York Yankees.

Dennis is survived by the love of his life Isabel; three proud sons, Dennis Jr. and his wife Alison of Basking Ridge; Brian and his wife Schelli of West Caldwell; and Kevin and his wife Angela of West Caldwell; his beloved grandchildren, Kayla, Abigail, Mckenzie, Peter, Gerard, Kevin Jr., and Marie; his sister Vivian Moran of VA; as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, and their families.

Visitation will be on Thursday, November 14, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shook-Farmer Funeral Home, 45 Roseland Ave, Roseland, NJ, A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Aloysius Church, 219 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell on Friday, November 15 at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dennis's memory may be made to the National Football Foundation Essex County Chapter, 481 Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, November 14th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Thursday, November 14th, 2019 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Shook-Farmer Funeral Home
    45 Roseland Avenue
    Roseland, NJ 07068
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, November 15th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Friday, November 15th, 2019 10:00am
    St. Aloysius Church
    219 Bloomfield Avenue
    Caldwell, NJ 07006
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Please gather at the funeral home at 9:00 am. Prayers will begin at 9:15 am.
  • Interment

    Gate of Heaven Cemetery
    225 Ridgedale Avenue
    East Hanover, NJ 07936
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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1 tree has been planted in memory of Dennis Gerard Robert Wilson Sr.

Christine and Mitchell Duplantis

Posted at 11:40am
We hope this tree, wherever it is planted, will help keep Dennis' spirit alive in the world. May its leaves whisper happy memories with each breeze.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Dennis Wilson — Plant a Tree Now

Justin Blanes

Posted at 05:56pm
I will always have fond childhood memories of enjoying a Manhattan clam chowder with Uncle Dennis and the Wilson boys before a New York Giants game in the Stadium Club. Those were the days... Rest in peace Uncle Dennis.

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Proudly Serving the Communities of Roseland, Livingston, Essex Fells, The Caldwells, East Hanover, and Essex and Morris Counties.
(973) 226-1111 45 Roseland Avenue | ROSELAND, NJ | 07068 (973) 226-1111 Shook-Farmer Funeral Home
45 Roseland Avenue
Fax: 973-228-9741
(973) 226-1111 Shook-Farmer Funeral Home
45 Roseland Avenue
Fax: 973-228-9741
(973) 226-1111 Shook-Farmer Funeral Home
45 Roseland Avenue
Fax: 973-228-9741
(973) 226-1111 Shook-Farmer Funeral Home
45 Roseland Avenue
Fax: 973-228-9741