Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

divider line


divider line

View in portable document format.



Charles Owens Wilson, Jr. was born on January 25, 1911, in Bothell, Washington, to Aura Steele Wilson and Charles O. Wilson. He attended the public schools in Bothell. He graduated with a B.S. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Washington, in Seattle, in 1938. He was a professor on the faculties of George Washington University from 1938-1940, the University of Minnesota from 1940-48, and The University of Texas from 1948-1959.

In 1959, Charles took the position of dean and professor of the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University in Corvallis and remained in this position until his retirement in 1975. Under his leadership, the OSU pharmacy department greatly expanded. Charles was part of the evolution from a small pharmacy school at a land-grant college to a research oriented pharmacy college at a research university. He served under three presidents: Strand, Jensen and MacVicar. Charles did an excellent job guiding the college through this difficult time of transition that included expanding the faculty, doubling the enrollment and doubling the size of the building. This was the period that the 5-year pharmacy degree replaced the 4-year programs. Oregon was one of the first states to make the 5-year degree mandatory for licensure.

During his years as a professor, beginning in the 1940's, Charles co-authored the two major pharmaceutical chemistry texts: Rogers' Inorganic Pharmaceutical Chemistry, by Soine & Wilson, and the Wilson and Gisvold Textbook of Organic Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry which is now in its 11th edition. This book has had a remarkable impact on medicinal chemistry education. Charles and Ole Gisvold selected the best medicinal chemists in the U.S. pharmacy schools to author chapters resulting in a textbook that set the standard for medicinal chemistry both in the United States and abroad. He also started the American Drug Index in 1956. He published numerous research papers and articles while at Minnesota and Texas and was a well known medicinal chemist. Charles worked from 1943-46 as an organic chemist on the Antimalarial Synthesis Program, a war-time project under the Federal Office of Scientific Research Development. He was also chief chemist for the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy for five years.

Charles wrote an article for one of the national pharmacy publications that sparked the Kefauver hearings for generic naming of drugs. He testified at those hearings in the summer of 1960.

Charles was an active member of the American Pharmaceutical Association as well as in each state's pharmacy association where he lived. In addition, he was a registered pharmacist in each state where he taught: Washington, Washington DC, Minnesota, Texas and Oregon. His fraternities included Kappa Psi, Rho Chi, Sigma Xi, and Kappa Sigma. He is listed in American Men of Science, Chemical Who's Who and Who's Who in American Education, 19th Ed. He was actively involved in the local American Red Cross Blood program. In 1960, Charles and Vaughn helped launch the AFS (American Field Service) in Corvallis, an international high school exchange program. He volunteered for Meals on Wheels for over thirty years.

Charles chaired national committees and sections of the American Pharmaceutical Association and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Related to these, his loyalty to students included organizing the student branches of the APhA at George Washington University, University of Minnesota and The University of Texas.

Charles Wilson married Vaughn Claire Howell in 1936. She graduated with him from the University of Washington in 1938 with a Masters in English. Charles was an avid fisherman and loved hiking, golf and camping. He also enjoyed bridge, dancing, sports and could always deliver an excellent joke.

Professor Wilson died December 30, 2002. He is survived by three children: Heather C. Wilson of Eugene, OR, Bonnie W. TenPas of Lexington, MA, and Felix D. Wilson of Downey, CA, seven grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Deceased are a son, Charles O. Wilson, III, and wife, Vaughn H. Wilson.

This memorial appeared in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Newsletter. It was provided to the Office of the General Faculty by Professor John Block of Oregon State University.