Former Congressman Charlie Wilson dies

BRIDGEPORT — Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson died Sunday afternoon in a Florida hospital following complications associated with a stroke suffered in February.

The Wilson family, which was at his side, released the following statement:

“Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of Southeast and East Ohio. Congressman Wilson served with honor, dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region. Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations. For 14 years Southeast and East Ohio had a champion serving as their voice in Columbus and Washington and our communities are better places for his service.”

Funeral details are not yet available.

Wilson was born Jan. 18, 1943, in Dillonvale. He was a small business owner of businesses operated throughout the Ohio Valley.

While still in college at Ohio University in Athens, Wilson worked as a UAW member on the assembly line at the Ford Automotive auto plant in Lorain.

In 1996, Wilson was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served until 2004, when he was elected to the Ohio Senate. After two years in the Ohio Senate, he won a write-in campaign in 2006, filling the congressional seat vacated by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

In 2010, he was defeated in a re-election bid by current U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.

“Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state Legislature and in Congress,” Johnson said in a release issued Sunday evening.

He is the father of four sons and grandfather of nine.