LONG BEACH — Robert Maxwell “Skip” Wilson, 86, a third-generation resident of the Long Beach Peninsula, died on Feb. 28, 2021, at his home in Long Beach.
Skip was born in Seaview on May 22, 1934, to Maxwell and Marie (Webbe) Wilson. He grew up on the family’s farm on Sandridge Road. He recalled an idyllic childhood but always had to do his chores. He was expected to fill the family wood box from the age of three and worked alongside his father Max throughout his youth. He was allowed to drive to school from a very early age with a special permit. His fondest childhood memory was about pet seal Minga, which his family found abandoned on the beach. He told of Minga meeting the school bus and of pulling her in a wagon to swim at Drunk Skunk Hollow. They would grab Minga by the back flipper and she would pull them through the water. They kept her for three years and donated her to the Seaside Aquarium.
Skip was a Boy Scout and attended local grade schools. He drove truck in the family trucking company from the age of 16 until he and his father moved several units of barracks from Fort Canby, which they assembled into the Anchorage Court Motel in Long Beach. He graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1952. He was an outstanding athlete, lettering in football, basketball and track. He held the discus record at Ilwaco High School from 1951-1985. After graduation he attended Oregon State University, where he also played football. He left Oregon State after one year to join the Army and after serving returned to Oregon state where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1962.
Following graduation he returned to the Peninsula where he built Anchorage Charters in Ilwaco, which he owned and operated for many years. During the same time period he purchased boats on the east coast, brought them through the Panama Canal and refitted them as charter and fishing boats. He told a story of a “pirate” adventure which occurred during one of these trips. Wilson was also a logging equipment manufacturer and gas dock operator.
In 1996 he met and married peninsula transplant, Mary McClung. Together they built and operated the Bay Trader, a used furniture and collectibles store, for 25 years. Skip was an expert woodworker. He custom built, repaired and refinished furniture while Mary handled the household goods. Many of the homes on the Peninsula contain items hand-built by Skip or purchased at the Bay Trader. He was an avid storyteller and loved talking to Bay Trader customers about local history. Since his death, hundreds of people have commented on social media about how they enjoyed coming into the store and talking to Skip.
Skip was a long-time Kiwanis member. He served as Ilwaco Port commissioner from 1977 until 1996. He was a Pacific County commissioner from 1992 until 1996. During his time as county commissioner he wrote a column about local issues for the Chinook Observer called “Skip’s Corner.” While county commissioner, he held an annual oyster feed at his house on the bay which many of his constituents attended.
Skip was an amazing man who will be dearly missed by his wife Mary, who still lives at and operates the Bay Trader, and by Mary’s children Tommy McClung and Andrea McClung Mayadag and eight grandchildren who spent many happy hours with Papa Skip. He is also survived by niece, Karen Marasko Prest and her three daughters Emily, Lauren and Abigail. He was preceded in death by his sister Juanita Wilson Provo.