The late Martha F. Wilson, former president of the Camden Board of Education, will be honored Saturday, April 9, when Camden’s early childhood development center will be renamed in her honor.
Wilson died April 17, 2020, at age 67 after suffering a heart attack. The center will be renamed immediately after a memorial service in her honor, which will be held at noon at Camden High School. The school had previously been unable to hold a tribute as a result of the pandemic.
A marching band will lead a processional to the early childhood development center after the memorial service. The center will be renamed the Martha F. Wilson Early Childhood Development Center. About 200 preschoolers are enrolled.
“Martha Wilson was a tireless advocate for children and a staunch supporter of public education,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director of NJSBA. “We are so pleased to see her being honored – especially by a center committed to what she so strongly believed in – giving children the tools they need to succeed. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think of her many contributions to the children of Camden.”
Wilson was elected to the board of education in 1997 and was gearing up to run for reelection prior to her death. She served as board president and was married to Camden County Sheriff Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, a former assemblyman and retired city police officer.
Wilson was also active with New Jersey School Boards Association committees, including as a member of the Legislative Committee, Urban Boards Committee, and Resolutions Subcommittee, and as a representative to the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, as well as the National School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. She was also active in the Camden County School Boards Association. She earned the designations of Master Board Member and the Certified Board Leader from NJSBA’s Board Member Academy.
A graduate of Camden High School, she attended Camden County College and Rutgers University. After college, she became the first African American to work in the Campbell Soup Co.’s medical department, and later worked for the RCA Corp. in its accounting department. She was appointed to a five-year term on the Delaware River Port Authority by then Gov. Jon Corzine.
Read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the dedication.