Remembering Jean D. Wilson (1932-2021)

The Dallas Symphony Association is saddened to share the news that Dr. Jean D. Wilson, Professor Emeritus at UT Southwestern Medical Center and enthusiastic supporter of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, passed away on June 13 at the age of 88. The DSO Jean D. Wilson Chorus Director Chairbears his name from a generous gift he bestowed upon the Dallas Symphony in 2015. Our thoughts are with his family.

In addition to his lifelong support of classical music, Dr. Wilson was an internationally recognized endocrinologist with laboratory research over six decades at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, as well as the American Philosophical Society.

A native of Paducah, Texas, Dr. Wilson obtained an undergraduate degree in chemistry from UT Austin, graduated from UT Southwestern Medical School in 1955and served as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health for two years. He held the Charles Cameron Sprague Distinguished Chair of Biomedical Research until his retirement in 2011, when he was named Professor Emeritus in Internal Medicine after more than 50 years with the UT Southwesterninstitution.

As a student in Dallas, in 1951, Dr. Wilson attended Dallas Symphony Concerts through a free ticket program –leading to a relationship that would last almost 70 years.In2015, he endowed the DSO Jean D. Wilson Chorus Director Chair. “I attended DSO performances for approximately 17 years when it depended on local choirs for the performance of oratorios and vocal symphonies, and I remember with delight first hearing the Chorus in the late 70s,” said Wilson.“There is no question but that the Chorus has added immensely to the DSO and the musical life of Dallas.” Known for his quick wit, Dr. Wilson also added “I have always wanted to pay the DSO back for the free tickets I received, and after taking into account 64years of compound interest on the ticket costs and 64 years of inflation, I like to believe that the Symphony is finally getting its money back and that my debt is now paid.”

“Together with the City of Dallas and our friends in the UT Southwestern Medical community, we mourn the loss of Dr. Wilson,” said DSO Ross Perot President & CEO Kim Noltemy. “We are proud to carry on his legacy of support through the Jean D. Wilson Chorus Director Chair and to honor that through the work of the Dallas Symphony Chorus.”

“I will always remember Dr. Wilson’s thoughtful presence. He spoke with such eloquence about all that the DSO, and the chorus in particular, had meant to him over the decades that he attended concerts,” said Joshua Habermann, Jean D. Wilson Chorus Director. “He was a gentle soul, and a lover of the beauty of the human voice, which he called the ‘original instrument.’ I am grateful for all he has done and through his generosity continues to do for vocal music in our community.