The Iron Man’s Battle Won On the 6th of May, Maryland lost a son who peacefully died after a determined six-year battle against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. David Spencer Wilson was born in Baltimore in 1961 and graduated in 1979 from Woodlawn Senior High School, where he excelled in vocational automotive mechanics. After graduation, he joined his father’s successful business, Southern Automatic Transmission Service, in Baltimore. When David’s father retired, David purchased the shop from his father and moved it to a location near his home in Woodbine, Maryland. A mechanic at heart and by trade, David was drawn to high-performance cars and actively competed in local and regional races in his 1972 maroon Chevy Vega. His love of high-performance cars reached its pinnacle with the acquisition of his prized 2013, 662 horsepower Ford Shelby Mustang. In addition to his interest in high-performance cars, David was an athlete. An avid runner, David ran his very first marathon in October 2010. Unfortunately, David nearly lost his foot to a lawn-mower accident in 2011. Shortly after the accident, David started cycling and swimming to stay in shape. When his foot fully recovered, he started running again and training in preparation for his first triathlon in 2013. After completing several triathlons, including Deep Creek’s Savageman Triathlon, which is considered one of the most challenging triathlon races on earth, David continued his racing, career always looking for, in his own words, “a bigger, harder, more enduring challenge.” As Sarah Achenbach wrote in her June 2018 article “Running Man” in Baltimore Style, “Unintentionally, he found it. In September 2016, Wilson was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is, ironically, the inspiration for his midlife love of running. In 2007, Wilson joined a team for the inaugural Robert Packard Center Fiesta 5K for ALS Research, a 5K race sponsored by John Hopkins University’s Packard Center.” Her article continues, “Wilson participated in memory of Tim McGehee, his high school friend from Woodlawn High School. McGehee, a Packard Center patient, had died from ALS. As part of the “Happy Floundos” team for the Fiesta 5K (the moniker chosen in celebration of McGehee’s love of silly names), Wilson finished his first-ever 5K the way he started it—by walking.” After that race, David took to running, training, racing, and winning. His accomplishments as an athlete, even after his ALS diagnosis, included several noteworthy races: Baltimore Marathon (October 2010), American Odyssey Relay 200-Mile Race (April 2016), Savageman Triathlon (September 2016), Baltimore Marathon (October 2016), New York City Marathon (November 2016), American Odyssey Relay 200-Mile Race (April 2017), Seagull Century 100-mile Bike Ride (October 2017), Ironman Maryland Triathlon (October 2017), and the Marine Corps Marathon (October 2017). On May 5, 2018, David participated in the Packard Center's Fiesta 5K and Fun Run for the 12th consecutive and final time. As one of the event’s top fundraisers and a patient, David raised thousands of dollars for the Packard Center for ALS Research. David’s battle with ALS was not fought alone. David was supported by a dedicated group of family and friends. David’s sisters: Lynn, Cat, and Dawn—David’s fraternal twin, played significant roles in managing his care, concerns, and wishes. His sons: Joe, Allen and Christopher, kept David actively engaged in living through Oriole baseball games, dinners out, an Alaskan sea cruise, Raven football games, and a final ride in his beloved Mustang just over a week before his death. David’s many friends added to the quality of his life and his well-being through their visits, prayers, phone calls, and messages. And finally, David’s friend and personal caregiver, Lynda Skiba, whose unwavering support of David during his last 18 months brought his life to a dignified and peaceful end. David may have lost his battle with ALS, but it was a fight well-fought. As David once said, "I want to inspire people. I want people to look at me and say that because of you, I didn’t give up.” David Spencer Wilson, 60, died May 6, 2022, at his home in Frederick, Maryland. Born November 1, 1961, in Baltimore, Maryland, he was the son of Spencer A. Wilson and the late Joanne Marie (Schwink) Wilson. He married Cheryl Swain, and they had three boys. David is survived by his father, Spencer, and his three sons, Joseph Wilson (wife Stephanie (Weber) Wilson), Allen Wilson, and Christopher Wilson. He is also survived by his sisters: Lynn Wilson and Catherine Levy, and his twin sister Dawn Wilson. The Jeffrey N. Zumbrun Funeral Home, 6028 Sykesville Road, Eldersburg, MD, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in memory of David to the Packard Center at John’s Hopkins Hospital. Online condolences are welcomed at www.jnzumbrunfuneralhome.com. The family will receive friends on Wednesday May 11th from 7-9 pm and on Thursday May 12th from 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm at the Jeffrey N. Zumbrun Funeral Home, 6028 Sykesville Road, Eldersburg, MD. Funeral services will be held Friday, May 13th at 10:30 AM at Lisbon United Methodist Church, 15875 Frederick Rd, Woodbine, MD 21797. Interment will follow at Lakeview Memorial Park, 2724 Liberty Road, Sykesville, MD, 21784.
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Robert Packard Center for ALS Research
855 N. Wolfe Street, 2nd floor Room 274, Baltimore MD 21205