James E. Wilson, a retired state trooper and private investigator, died Dec. 18 in his home in Springfield, Tenn., from leptomeningeal metastases, a complication of cancer. He was 80.
Born in Buffalo, the youngest of five children, he was the son of a judge in Alden. Upon graduating from Alden High School, he enlisted in the Navy at the end of the Korean War and served aboard a destroyer.
Returning from service, he worked factory jobs until he joined the New York State Police in 1960. Assigned to the Clarence barracks, he was a motorcycle patrolman and a mounted officer, kept a horse and worked annually at the Erie County Fair. He also saw duty in the Attica Prison Uprising in 1971.
Mr. Wilson retired on disability in 1979 after he was severely injured while capturing a violent suspect in downtown Buffalo following a high-speed chase on the Niagara Thruway in which several shots were fired.
He became a licensed private investigator and a security consultant and was a substitute teacher at Akron Central School. Active in community affairs, he ran unsuccessfully for Newstead town justice in 1993.
He organized the Newstead Youth Baseball League, serving as its president and as a coach. He also trained police K-9 dogs and won several awards.
He was a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Fraternal Order of Police. A longtime Newstead resident, he moved to Tennessee four years ago.
Survivors include his wife of 43 years, the former Jo Anne Vidrette; two sons, James “Ryan” and Christopher “Colt”; three daughters, Lori, Debbie and Jenny Skinner; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be arranged.