Dr. Deb Daniels, Taft College, President & Superintendent said, “Taft College is honored to be naming our Library after Opal Smith and Harry Wilson. Very rarely do you find an individual who believes as passionately as Harry did about furthering education because he believed in building a stronger community. Harry wasn’t a man that sat back and waited for others to do the heavy lifting, he believed in making an honest living and brighter future for Taft.”
In 2013, upon his Aunt Opal’s passing, Harry Wilson donated $104,000 in honor of his Aunt Opal Smith’s 104th birthday, with grants going to the Library, Phi Theta Kappa club, and the School of Dental Hygiene. It is with great honor that upon Harry’s passing Taft College receives his $1.6 million dollar bequest, which will serve as aid for program and student support services, along with starting the Opal Smith and Harry Wilson Endowment for Taft College.
Harry was born in Taft, CA on December 13, 1921 and passed away in Bakersfield, CA on September 10, 2016. He was a member of the U.S. Army and served during WW II from February 17, 1945 to November 4, 1946. His second tour of duty was served during the Korean Conflict from September 18, 1950 to April 11, 1952 when he was honorably discharged from military service. He retired from ARCO after 30 years of employment. Harry enjoyed traveling, reading and truly cared for others. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Beulah Wilson and his loving Uncle Bill and Aunt Opal Smith.