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Will R. Wilson, Sr.

Will R. Wilson, Sr.

Will R. Wilson, Sr. (1969-1971)

Early History: Will Reid Wilson, Sr. was born in 1912 in Dallas, Texas. He earned a degree in geology at the University of Oklahoma and graduated first in his class from Southern Methodist University law school. Mr. Wilson then served as an aide to the Mayor of Dallas and as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas. During World War II, Mr. Wilson was a Major in the U.S. Army, accepting the surrender of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s staff in the Philippines, and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in combat.

In 1946, Mr. Wilson was elected District Attorney of Dallas County. In 1950, he was elected to serve on the Texas Supreme Court as one of its youngest justices in history. He resigned from the bench in 1956 to run for Attorney General of Texas, a post in which he served until 1963 when he co-founded a law firm. In 1959, he received the Wyman Memorial Award, the highest honor of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Tenure: In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Mr. Wilson as Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. As Assistant Attorney General, he directed the Organized Crime Strike force. He served for two years before returning to Texas.

Later Career: Mr. Wilson later ran two ranches in Texas and served as director of the local water control and improvement districts. He wrote a book (A Fool for a Client) about the fall of President Nixon. Mr. Wilson died in 2005 in Austin, Texas.

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.

Updated February 4, 2016