Bio of Gary

Gary Wilson OAM

Early Childhood

Gary Austin Wilson OAM was born on 15th July 1937 in Auckland, New Zealand. He was born to then Austin Wilson (later known as Sir Austin George Wilson OBE) and then Ailsa Blanche Wilson (formerly Ailsa Blanche Percy and later known as Lady Ailsa Wilson).

Early Adulthood

His father receives an award

Austin Wilson was awarded as, “Ordinary Officer of the Civil Division of One Said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” in New Zealand on 1st January 1958.

Marriage

Gary married Elizabeth Leigh Fountain (later known as Elizabeth Wilson OAM) on 12th March 1960.

Elizabeth and Gary Wilson wedding

Early 1960s in the outback of Australia

Gary’s wife gave birth to their first son, Michael Gary Wilson, on 10th January 1961 at the town of Elizabeth in South Australia.

Their second son, Richard Mark Wilson, was born on 12th September 1963. This birth was also in Elizabeth, South Australia. Richard grow up to later complete a PhD and be Dr Richard Wilson.

Gary was President of a hockey club in Adelaide during the family’s time in South Australia.

Moving to Sydney, Australia

Their third son, Jeremy David Wilson, was born on 11th August 1966. This was in Wentworthville, New South Wales.

He became President of a Parramatta Kindergarten at the end of this decade.

Gary joined Toastmasters International at the age of 32 years old.

1970s

Receiving awards when leading the Toastmasters Club and Area

He achieved many club-level leadership titles and awards in Toastmasters during the 70s. Gary served as Club Vice President of Education in 1970 and 1971. He then became Club President of the Parramatta Toastmasters Club in 1972, a role he would repeat in later decades. He was then awarded with the Club’s Toastmaster of the year Trophy each year from 1972 to 1975.

After serving in club leadership in 1972, he then became an Area Governor of a small group of Toastmasters clubs in 1974-1975. These roles would pave the way for statewide and international leadership in the 80s.

Concluding his achievements in the 70s, Gary became awarded as the Toastmasters District 70 Outstanding Toastmaster of the Year in 1979.

1980s

Awarded by his local club

Gary single-handedly won the Club’s Toastmaster of the Year Trophy at the Parramatta Toastmasters Club in 1980.

His father received the ultimate award

His achievements so far were impressive. But his dad would get a top award. Gary Wilson’s father, Austin Wilson O.B.E, became knighted in 1981. The certificate announced, “Her Majesty was pleased to confer the Dignity of Knighthood upon Austin Wilson ESQ, O.B.E. In consequence and pursuance thereof the said Sir Austin Wilson O.B.E” in New Zealand on 22nd May 1981.

Statewide and international leadership in Toastmasters

Barely more than a year after Gary’s father became knighted, Gary started leadership in Toastmasters for multiple states. He became District Governor of Toastmasters District 70 NSW/ACT in 1982/1983. He then served as an International Director at Large on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors in 1986-88. This was a rare achievement for members in Australia. Toastmasters International is based in the USA.

Leadership responsibilities juggled during family loss

During Gary’s time as International Director at Toastmasters, he received sad news about family. His father, Sir Austin George Wilson OBE, passed away on 4th May 1987 in Auckland, New Zealand.

First grandson born during loss and leadership

Gary was still a Toastmasters International Director when their first grandchild was born, just months after the loss of Gary’s father. Their grandson, Jonathan Michael Wilson, was born on 9th September 1987.

First granddaughter born at end of 80s

Elizabeth and Gary’s first granddaughter, Melanie Suzanne Wilson, was born on the 3rd July 1989. This birth was followed by surgery. She was alright within a couple of years.

1990s

Continuing local leadership in Toastmasters

Gary and Elizabeth together held the role of Club Vice-President of Education at the Parramatta Toastmasters Club in 1991. During that year, they together won the Club’s Toastmaster of the Year Trophy.

He became the Club President of the Parramatta Toastmasters Club in 1992.

Second grandson born in early nineties

Their second grandson, Benjamin Robert Wilson, was born on 18th June 1993.

Losing his mother

Another significant family event would occur less than a year after such joy. Gary’s mother, Lady Ailsa Blanche Wilson (maiden name Percy), passed away on 16th September 1994 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Management at Sony

Gary was employed as the National Service Manager for Sony Australia for a couple of decades.

Early 2000s

Paid Role for Bridge Card Games

He stayed employed in the 2000s despite his age. He worked as a bridge director at the Carlingford Bridge Club and the Pennant Hills Bridge Club.

Gary was again elected as the Club President of the Parramatta Toastmasters Club for the financial year from July 2000 to June 2001.

OAM in 2014

The Australia Day Honours List 2014 announced Gary Wilson as a recipient of the Medal of the order of Australia (OAM) in January 2014.

He became Gary Wilson OAM in 2014, when awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia by (then) NSW Governor Marie Bashir. Gary could wear insignia decades after his father has received honours.

This achievement was overshadowed by contrasting personal events. His wife, Elizabeth, was unable to walk without help during the investiture. Elizabeth Wilson was diagnosed with cancer in May 2014. Gary would support Elizabeth as she needed medical treatments and mobility adjustments in the home.

He continued managing Toastmasters Supplies Australia. Elizabeth would return to her role as fellow Sales Officer when able.