Winston Wilson, U.S. wheat industry leader, dies at 55

by Teresa Acklin
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   ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Winston Wilson, a former president of U.S. Wheat Associates, died May 11 of an apparent heart attack. He was 55.

   Mr. Wilson retired in August 1997 after 15 years as president of U.S. Wheat, directing U.S. wheat export market development efforts of the organization's 17 offices around the world and conducting activities in 130 countries. Since then, he had been involved in consulting work for various grain companies and associations.

   Mr. Wilson was named president of U.S. Wheat in 1981, shortly after it was formed through the merger of two regional wheat associations, Great Plains Wheat and Western Wheat. During his tenure, he was involved with U.S. Wheat projects including modernization of the wheat foods industry in China and the opening of baking schools and milling centers in several countries.

   Before joining U.S. Wheat, Mr. Wilson was an under secretary of agriculture in the Jimmy Carter administration and an administrative assistant to Texas Congressman Charles Stenholm. He also was a past-president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and the Texas Wheat Growers Association, and was a partner in a family wheat farm and ranch in Texas.

   John Howard, program administrator of the International Grains Program at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., said Mr. Wilson was “probably the most capable, productive and successful individual in the entire wheat industry.”

   Mr. Howard added, “You can go anywhere in the world and find buyers of wheat; once you do, I assure you they will know the name Winston Wilson. The competition knew him also because he was so formidable.”

   Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mickie Wilson, and two daughters, Machille and Missy. A memorial service was held May 13 in Alexandria; funeral services and burial were held May 15 at Quanah, Texas.