Mary Jane Wilson dies; former program director at WKAR-TV

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Mary Jane Wilson, 67, former program director at WKAR-TV in East Lansing, Mich., died June 26. She served as director from 1989 until her retirement in 2006.

“Those of us who were lucky enough to have Mary Jane as a friend know that she was the real deal,” said Carrie Corbin, former program manager at WGVU in Kalamazoo, Mich., who called Wilson “a programmer who would do anything for you.”

“Many was the time that Mary Jane dropped off a tape at the bus station on Friday afternoon to meet our 6 p.m. broadcast after we had a machine failure,” Corbin said.

Wilson began her career as a student employee, then staff member, at Instructional Television at Michigan State University. In 1970 she moved to University of Delaware as a media specialist, and then to media work at the Helene Fuld School of Nursing in New Jersey. She returned to Michigan in 1978 and began working for WKAR-TV.

She was born in Windsor, Ontario, the daughter of Peg and Stanley Wilson; the family became U.S. citizens in 1943 when Mary Jane was 3 years old. She graduated from Michigan State with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in radio and television and educational media.

Following her retirement from WKAR, Wilson continued to be active at the station, volunteering for auction and taking on ascertainment and Nielsen reporting tasks.

She is survived by several cousins and good friends, a statement from the station said.

A memorial service will take place July 9 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Grand Ledge, Mich. Wilson had requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the church (201 E. Jefferson St., Grand Ledge, Mich., 48837) or the American Cancer Society.