Richard Wilson, son of Alfred and Matilda Dodge Wilson

In Memory of Richard S. Wilson, 1929-2022

Meadow Brook Community Remembers Richard S. Wilson, 1929 – 2022

It is with great sadness that Meadow Brook Hall and Oakland University announces the passing of Richard Samuel Wilson, son of Matilda Dodge Wilson and Richard Wilson at Meadow Brook HallAlfred G. Wilson.

Richard was adopted by the Wilson family in November 1930 and soon joined his older siblings, Frances and Daniel Dodge, at the recently completed Meadow Brook Hall, his family’s country estate outside of Detroit, Michigan. The following year, his beloved younger sister Barbara was adopted.

As a teenager, Richard spent his summers apprenticing with the different agricultural groups at Meadow Brook Farms, where he developed a love for animals and modern farming techniques, as well as a keen mind for business. He went on to graduate from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.

Barbara and Richard Wilson with horses in 1934
Barbara and Richard Wilson in 1934.

Richard would later find success working with his sister Frances Dodge Van Lennep’s equestrian enterprises in Florida and in Michigan, including managing Wolverine Raceway and Pompano Park. He was well-known in the sports industry and worked as a sportscaster in Detroit.

In 2005, Richard was elected to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame, primarily for his work as general manager during the early years of the Pompano Park racetrack; his “innovative thoughts propelled the track to success during those years.”

Richard Wilson with family at Meadow Brook Hall
Richard Wilson (center in blue) celebrating his 90th birthday.

When his family home, Meadow Brook Hall, became a museum, Richard dedicated himself to helping maintain the home and to preserve the legacy of his family and the farm. He was a regular contributor to two major fundraisers, the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and Gehringer Golf Invitational.

Richard said the best lesson he learned from his parents was to be “concerned about others and aware of others’ needs.” Richard lived this lesson daily, proving in his actions and in his words his devotion to community.

Richard Wilson and Barbara Wilson as children at Meadow Brook Hall
Richard and Barbara Wilson.

Richard’s passing marks the end of an era, being the last child who grew up at Meadow Brook Hall.

Richard is survived by his four children Larry, Barbara, Linda, Patti, many loving grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and generations of volunteers and visitors to Meadow Brook who are grateful for his stories and generous spirit.