Vernon K. “Tank” Wilson passed away early this month, but he left an impression on Meade Countians that will live on for generations to come.
Tank, who was born in 1932, was raised by grandparents August and Amanda Bohn. He graduated Bosse High School in Evansville, Ind. in 1952, and was a class athlete on the football team. His athleticism continued through his college career, and it’s what earned him the nickname Tank.
After the tornado ravaged Meade County in the 70s, a principal was needed, and Tank stepped up to the plate.
Matt Spencer, who is the guidance counselor at Meade County High School, says that Tank made a lasting impression on him. Spencer’s father was hired as assistant principal the same year that Tank was hired as principal. Spencer says that Tank treated every student fairly, but he commanded respect.
“He was fair to all the students,” said Spencer. “He always knew your name, and he always had a smile on his face, but you knew you better walk in a straight line. He would treat you fair and right, but he expected you to do things the right way.”
Spencer says that Tank was known to walk the halls throughout the school day, ensuring that the environment was good for staff and conducive to learning for students.
Spencer took lessons learned from Tank into his own educational career, making an effort to treat each student fairly just like Tank had during his tenure.
“You always want to be fair with students, and you want to treat them as fairly as you can,” Spencer says, “but, at the same time, you’ve got to draw that line. You’ve got to let them know what the expectation is. You’ve got to be clear about it, and that’s what Tank did. I try to do the same thing.”
Spencer says that he has spoken with some of his classmates since Tank’s passing, and they all still had fondness of him.
“In the big picture of life, you don’t have that experience with a lot of people, but we all felt that way toward Mr. Wilson,” Spencer said. “We were very lucky and fortunate that we had him as our principal.”
Tank was an educator, a veteran, an athlete, and by all accounts, a model Meade Countian. He was a loving husband of 65 years, a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather. Though he will be missed, his influence will be felt for years to come, and it’s clear he imparted life lessons on countless students that will be passed down for generations to come.