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“i will always remember Bill as an intelligent, conversant, interesting man. I loved all of the stories he told me about his many experiences. I was...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Irene Mahoney - Chicago, IL

“My thoughts and prayers are with Sue and the rest of the family during this sad time. And, I will truly miss my wonderful, funny and talented Pisces...Read More »
2 of 4 | Posted by: Valerie Gobos - Chicago, IL

“Dad, Now that you are free of the organic body that was so restrictive, you are free to do and persue whatever, whenever you wish. While also...Read More »
3 of 4 | Posted by: Patrick Yale Wilson Bartlett - AZ

“Bill was a very important person in my life when I was "coming of age" as a young man struggling to become an artist on the north side of Chicago in...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Alex Garza - Tucson, AZ


William Yale Wilson, Sr., "Yale", Artist/movie producer helped shape Chicago's film industry

He wanted to be remembered for his fine art – and some of his paintings have hung in the Art Institute of Chicago -- but William Yale Wilson will probably be most remembered for helping make Chicago a viable and permanent film and television production center by providing the all the necessary facilities and resources.

A father of six, Wilson found it difficult to pay the bills from the sale of his art work alone, so he spent more than 13 years with major Chicago advertising agencies -- first as an art director, then copywriter, and, finally, creative director, writing and producing commercials for network television.

His love of filmmaking led to the establishment of his own award-winning production company in the late 60's. Widely respected for his knowledge of both the artistic and business aspects of film and video production, Wilson designed and taught a production management course at Columbia College; authored a monthly column for industry trade magazine "Shooting Commercials;" and, as one of the founders of the Chicago Coalition – an organization of local film and television professionals – he conceived and directed a series of production workshops for advertising agency professionals. The Coalition workshops were nationally acknowledged to have revitalized the television commercial industry in Chicago in the late 70's.

In 1981, concurrent with operating his production company, Wilson formed Midcoast Producers Services (MPS) to meet the growing demand for equipment and services by Hollywood producers who were finding Chicago an attractive location. With the formation of MPS, production managers could, for the first time, find in Chicago everything they needed from honey wagons, cranes, camera trucks and insert cars, to communication systems, extras payroll, catering, office equipment, special effects, stunts and more. Wilson budgeted and implemented logistical requirements for some 30 features and made-for-television movies for clients including MGM, Orion, Columbia, Warner Bros., EMI, CBS and ABC-TV.

An avid outdoorsman, Wilson was always eager to share his passion and knowledge with others -- writing articles on camping for the Chicago Tribune; an instructional skeet-shooting book, "The Elusive Clay Pigeon," and teaching skeet shooting at the (now defunct) Lincoln Park Gun Club. Wilson was also active in local politics, contributing his advertising expertise to numerous aldermanic, mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns, and served as Committeeman of the 22nd Ward New Republican Organization in the late 60's.

Wilson, who grew up in LaGrange, worked as a Yellowstone forest ranger; a cowboy at the 3BarE Ranch in Montana; and served in the Coast Guard during World War II before beginning his advertising career – and his family,.

Wilson died July 11, 2013 from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 86 years old.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Knox Wilson, six children and six grandchildren.

Services are pending.

Donations may be made to or

Arrangements by Cremation Society of Illinois, 773-281-5058 or