I knew Jack Wilson. But Jack Wilson wasn’t a friend of mine.
I wasn’t that lucky.
But I was fortunate enough to call the real estate developer an admired acquaintance, a man who transcended business-contact status for a reporter finding his way in the early ’80s with the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
After battling Alzheimer’s, Wilson, 66, died too young last week. His legacy includes such pre-eminent projects as Bayport Plaza at the intersection of Courtney Campbell Causeway and Memorial Highway, Carillon across from Feather Sound in Pinellas County and the New York Yankees’ Legends Field. And he was a leadership godsend to the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Bay Partnership.
Wilson hit town about the time savvy development folks were starting to look seriously at the Tampa – and Tampa Bay – market. But nobody combined vision, bottom-line acumen and a classy style the way Wilson did. He was an original.
Georgia born – and sounding. A Georgia Tech grad with a Harvard MBA cutting deals in Westshore. He made things happen – and he made friends. He was a gentleman.
He made more than a mark. He made a difference.