PORTLAND – Dr. Constance M. Wilson, 72, passed away Feb. 17, 2010, at Maine Medical Center, Portland. She was born Oct. 7, 1937, in Blackstone, Mass., a daughter of Robert W. and Eleanor L. (Nichols) Wilson. She attended local schools, and graduated from The Lincoln School, Providence, R.I. Constance earned her bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1959, and got her doctorate from Cornell University in 1970. Additionally, Dr. Wilson’s life was centered around daily study and learning. She was fluent in several languages including, French, Thai, Latin, Sanskrit and Pali. She also traveled the globe at least twice. Dr. Wilson served as a professor at San Francisco State College, 1966-1967, and at Northern Illinois University, 1967-2003. She taught in several Southeast Asian countries, as well as conducted extensive research in Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, general Asia, China, Japan and India. Dr. Wilson was a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam, and became an authority on the war and the ongoing issues centered on Southeast Asia. Throughout her teaching career she wrote numerous grants and was the recipient of many grants and awards. Dr. Wilson was a member of American Historical Association and Association for Asian Studies, and was a lifetime member of Burma Research Society and Siam Society. Constance wrote more than 150 published papers, as well as a book entitled “Thailand: A Handbook of Historical Statistics,” which was published in 1983. Dr. Wilson was appointed in 2009 as a founding member of the board of advisors for Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University and also just completed an edited book entitled, “The Middle Mekong River Basin: Studies in Tai History and Culture, 2009.” On a more personal note Constance was a true connoisseur of all of the arts and visited museums all throughout the world. She was a supporting member of the various symphonies where she lived and she especially enjoyed ballet and the opera. Constance demonstrated a quiet thoughtfulness to her family. She often sent cards and gifts when it was least expected, but most needed. She took a special interest in her nephews, nieces and the children. She was predeceased by her father, Dr. Robert W. Wilson Sr.; her brother, Robert W. Wilson Jr.; and her sister-in-law, Dr. Melba Wilson. Constance is survived by her mother, Eleanor of Jefferson; a sister, Mary Martha Wilson Collins and her husband, Edwin, of Jefferson; a brother, Dr. Roger M. Wilson of Bar Harbor; four nieces and nephews, Diane Sare and her husband, Chris, of New Jersey, Dr. Cynthia Richards and her husband, Ted, of North Carolina, Terry Collins and his wife, Amy, of Biddeford, and Dr. Micky Collins and his wife, Lynn, of Pittsburgh; and 12 much loved great-nieces and great-nephews. Family and friends are invited to a memorial service 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Portland Friends Meeting House, 1837 Forest Ave., Portland. In lieu of flowers, donations in Constance’s name may be made to American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102. Arrangements respectfully handled by Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ctcrawford.com.
DR. CONSTANCE M. WILSON
Posted Feb. 22, 2010, at 11:18 p.m.