Athlete, Pre 1970
Bruce Wilson was born on June 13, 1924. At the young age of 87, he is the oldest living athlete to be inducted into the Riverside sport Hall of Fame. Wilson grew up with his older brother Jim on Hoover Street in Riverside, and attended Palm Elementary School, Central Middle School and Poly High School. His father owned Brick Wilson’s Automotive Service on Market Street. Wilson got his start in athletics in junior high school playing softball in a Park and Recreation Department Night Ball League, at a time when there were no youth baseball leagues.
In high school, Wilson was the first Riverside Poly student to letter in all four major sports – football, basketball, track and field, and baseball. While at Poly, he earned eight varsity letters and was the school’s athlete of the year in 1943.
Upon graduation in 1943, he immediately joined the United States Army, where he volunteered for parachute training and joined the 517th Parachute Regiment made famous in Band of Brothers. During WWII, he fought in five major battles, including the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge.
After the war, Bruce lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Riverside City College, where he graduated in 1947. He later briefly played baseball while at USC. He returned to Riverside to teach and coach at Central Junior High (1951-57), Poly High (1957-66) and RCC (1967-89). During that time he was a positive role model and mentor to hundreds of young people.
During Bruce’s 39-year teaching career, he never missed one day of work. Bruce and his wife Doris have been married for 62 years. They have a son Tom, a daughter Gail, and three grandchildren.