NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Former Norfolk State University president and grandfather of NFL star Russell Wilson has died.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback remembered his 94-year-old grandfather Dr. Harrison B. Wilson on Instagram and described him as an educator and mentor.
“Going to miss you Grandpa,” Wilson wrote in the caption. “Thanks for all of the stories.”
The elder Wilson was the grandson of a former slave who prioritized the idea of education in his 15 children, according to news outlets.
He was a star athlete at Kentucky State University and received his master’s and doctorate from Indiana University. He served as the president of Norfolk State University from 1975 to 1997 and helped the school flourish academically and athletically. New graduate programs were added under his tenure and the Spartans racked up CIAA basketball and football titles.
Wilson died Sunday of complications from dementia, according to The Virginian-Pilot . Wilson and his first wife had four sons before her death in 1967, according to his obituary . He later remarried and had a daughter with his second wife, Dr. Lucy Wilson, who already had a daughter from a previous relationship. Lucy Wilson told the Virginian-Pilot that her husband was the light of her life.
A public service for Wilson will be held Aug. 3 at the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center at Norfolk State University, according to a Facebook post by the couple’s daughter, April Woodard.