State Police investigating suspicious death at Niles home

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Tracy Wilson of Niles fought a more than decade-long battle to overcome his heart problem.
News that he had passed away was received with great sorrow Monday by friends and work colleagues in this community.
Wilson died at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Monday morning, where he has been hospitalized since August awaiting a heart transplant.
The 42-year-old Coldwell Banker real estate agent and Niles Community Schools custodian, who also had his own portable barbecue business, was known by many people in the community simply known as "Tiny."
Wilson, who was married to Angel, had two children, Magdalena, 15, and Jessie, 10.
His step-son Richard, who is in his twenties, lives in Colorado.
Butler knew Wilson all his life, but not just through his work at her real estate agency.
She said Wilson went to school with her own children and went to her son's wedding.
Bill Zimmerman was out of town deer hunting when news that Wilson had passed away reached him.
Zimmerman said he knew Wilson, who at times worked four jobs, since fourth grade.
Zimmerman said he never realized how much Wilson did until he and five friends catered a party Wilson had taken on before he was hospitalized.
Zimmerman said Wilson was a great outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish.
Deer hunting was his passion, Zimmerman said,
Zimmerman said everyone who knew Wilson will miss him and thoughts go out to his family.
Doug Law, Niles Community Schools superintendent, also received the news of Wilson's passing on Monday morning.
He said many people in the school district knew Wilson, who cooked for several staff parties and also cooked at the high school seniors' end-of-year picnic.
Law said losing Wilson is a loss for the school district, the community and his family.
Peggy Purucker, a secretary at school district operations, said before going on leave on Aug. 11, Wilson was a custodian at Ballard Elementary.
His first job with the school district was as a substitute teacher in 1998, she said.
Lisa Croteau, Downtown Development Authority director, said she didn't know Wilson well, but was beginning to know him better after he had cooked at a few fund-raising events put on by the Main Street Initiative Promotions committee this summer.
Lori Zimmerman, Bill Zimmerman's wife, said the condition that caused Wilson's death is called cardio myopathy.
The condition basically causes the heart to deteriorate to the point that it no longer works to support the body, she said.
She said there really isn't any "cure" for the disease but there are medications that can help to slow its progress.
Zimmerman said Wilson's friends are going to do their best to promote organ donation and make people aware of how important it is to help people like Tracy.
Zimmerman said an annual golf outing will be established to help raise awareness on organ donation and to help establish a scholarship fund in Tracy's memory.
Nancy Butler said a memorial has been established at First Source Bank on behalf of Wilson's family.