David Sherwood Wilson passed away unexpectedly at his home in Decatur, Georgia, on March 19, 2022. He was 69 years old.
David was born September 21, 1952, in Bloomington Illinois, to Erwin Sherwood and Stella Lucile Wilson. The family later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, and it was there as a 13-year-old boy that David first picked up a guitar and never put it down. David attended Broadripple Highschool in Indianapolis and briefly studied voice at Ball State University before leaving to pursue his love of music in Atlanta, Georgia. David started his band, Stagedoor Johnny, in the late 70s and toured Atlanta throughout the 70s and 80s playing rock ‘n roll, fulfilling his dream of being a musician, and even playing as a backup band for Three Dog Night. He wrote and recorded many original songs and even garnered airtime on Atlanta and Canadian radio.
In 1978 while working at a steakhouse to support his music career, David met his first wife Betty Nell Morse. They were married in 1982 and welcomed their daughter Melissa (Wilson) Newton in 1984. David easily transitioned into parenthood and was a loving and proud father, taking Melissa on many outdoor adventures, trips to the Yellow River Game Ranch, and imparting his love of music and Basset Hounds. David and Betty parted ways in 1986 but remained devoted co-parents and good friends. They even chatted on the phone the day before he passed.
Putting the dream of being a rock ‘n roller on hold, David took a job at a newsletter publishing company in 1984. David excelled in the publishing and writing arena, eventually rising all the way from the position of telemarketer to corporate executive. It was during this time that David met his wife Elizabeth “Liz” Wilson at a publishers’ conference in 1994. It was love at first sight, and 6 months later the two were married in an intimate ceremony in New Orleans, Louisiana. The happy couple welcome their son Eric Christian Wilson in the Spring of 1996. David and Liz took a young Eric on trips as close as the North Georgia mountains, and as far as Amsterdam. David also fostered in his son a love for music, dogs, and basketball.
In the beginning of 1999, David casually posted a review article about an amplifier and received an avalanche of responses from around the world, striking a nerve with fellow guitarists. At the time, Liz owned and published a sports medicine newsletter and realized that with David’s writing and their combined publishing expertise, they could turn his hobby into a fully realized publication. David then left life as an executive to focus on his new dream of combining music and writing.
David continued his quest for tone for the next 23 years, testing every guitar, pickup, pedal, and amp that an enthusiast could dream of, and writing about it in ToneQuest. He interviewed musical greats like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. David inspired, entertained, and helped countless guitarists find the perfect tone. David was a trailblazer in the music business, filling a hole for music techies and rockers alike. ToneQuest was uniquely awesome in the way it was written and the first of its kind. There still isn’t a publication that can match ToneQuest’s witty style, superb readability, and expert advice on tone and gear review.
In May of 2019 David went on a pilgrimage with Liz to Lourdes, France. He said of the experience: “This is the closest thing to heaven on Earth.” It was in Lourdes that he played guitar and sang in public for the first time in 20 years. It was a transformative experience that he often remembered fondly.
David was a loving husband and proud father and grandfather, a master griller, stellar guitar player, lover of spicy foods, amazing cook, lover of blues music, elaborate baker, and the list goes on. He also loved the outdoors and enjoyed running to keep fit and camping with his buddies during their annual “Slug Fest” guy’s trip. He was the ultimate storyteller, funny guy, and host, often welcoming his guests with a delicious homecooked meal. He was charismatic, charming, and a true light in this world.
Survivors include his wife Liz, daughter Melissa, son Eric, son-in-law Patrick Newton, grandchildren Ava, Jackson, and Emma Newton, and his many cousins, nieces, and friends, along with his beloved dog Bella who never left his side.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 636 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur, Georgia, 30030 followed by a 2:00 pm burial at Honey Creek Woodlands at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, GA 30094. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Legionaries of Christ and putting “In honor of David Wilson” in the comments https://legionariesofchrist.org/make-a-gift/
Legionaires of Christ