THOMAS H. WILSON (1944-1998), a weekend broadcast meteorologist at WPTV Channel 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida, who battled cancer and shared his experiences with viewers, died Tuesday, 5 May 1998 at Hospice of Palm Beach. He was 53. Tom, who also was an airline pilot, worked weekend mornings at the NBC affiliate. He was diagnosed with cancer of the thymus gland in 1995. Tom Wilson was born in Indiana on 11 November 1944, graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, SC, in 1966, joined the U.S. Army and picked up a lifelong love of flying. He joined Eastern Airlines in 1974 and eventually became a captain and flight instructor. He later joined Pan American World Airways as a manager of training program development. A Channel 5 spokesman said Tom spent so much time "up there" that understanding the weather came second nature. In 1988, the station hired him as a weathercaster. "He was a joy to work with," said anchor Tom Dunn, who worked with him for 10 years. "He was a hard-working guy too. On some days, he would do the morning weather, then the weather at 6 and 11 p.m., then drive down to Miami where he was a flight trainer, then come back up to West Palm Beach the next day." To increase his knowledge of meteorology, Tom enrolled in and graduated from the Mississippi State University broadcast meteorology program through correspondence. He also earned the NWA Seal of Approval for TV Weathercasting. After cancer struck, Tom Wilson never gave up. He would openly discuss his condition on-air wanting to help others going through similar challenges.
"While Tom lost his valiant struggle, he gave to each of us the precious
gifts of faith, courage and professionalism," said WPTV General Manager Bill Brooks.
- Station personnel and 6 May 1998, Vero Beach Press Journal article by Bob Betcher