Alabama Academy of Honor


James Winfrey Wilson, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2002 and 2006.



James W. Wilson, Jr., was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on January 29, 1935, and attended the public schools of that city, graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in 1953.

He attended both Tulane University and the University of Alabama, graduating from the former with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1957. During that same period of time, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Army. He was released from active duty in 1958 but recalled during the Berlin Crisis of 1961-62.

Mr. Wilson became associated in the real estate business at Montgomery in 1962 as a salesman becoming progressively more skilled over the preceding eight years. During that time, he obtained the designation of SCM (Certified Shopping Center Manager).

In 1970 Jim Wilson organized his own company, Colonial Properties, which firm he served as President. In 1975 he established the firm of Jim Wilson Associates, Inc. which is currently one of the nation's largest shopping center development firms.

Among the many activities of Jim Wilson Associates, Inc., was the development of Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham, the Southeast's largest mixed-use facility.

In addition to Mr. Wilson's business responsibilities, he found time to perform many civic duties. He served as Trustee of Huntingdon College; a member of the Board of Administrators of Tulane University; a member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce as well as serving as a member of the Royal Council of Alabama Shakespeare Festival. In October 1995 he was honored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation with its first "Corporate Citizen in the Humanities Award." He encouraged academics, patronized the arts, and promoted amateur athletics in the Southeast.

Mr. Wilson was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery and was married to the former Wynona White of Livingston, AL. They are the parents of two sons and two daughters and enjoyed 12 grandchildren.

James Wilson died on September 21, 2006.