Stanley & William Wilt Fund
Stanley Wilt was born October 24, 1917, on Kiger Island, where his parents Albert and Alma Wanamker Wilt raised four sons—Stanley, Bill, Joe, and Neal. Stanley attended Kiger Island School, then graduated from Corvallis High School and attended Oregon State College. A self-made man with a zest for new challenges and an unerring eye for opportunity, the young Stanley Wilt created his first job when he saw the need for removing the old Mary’s Peak railroad line. He went after the contract to do the work and was successful. He soon became involved in trucking goods and supplies from Corvallis to Portland and later from Corvallis into Idaho. He was one of the original shareholders for the Los Angeles and Seattle Motor Express, which carried war supplies from 1941 through 1945.
On November 11, 1941, Stanley married Virginia Gehrs in Boise, Idaho. Virginia grew up in Portland and graduated from OSC, studying secretarial science. She worked for the Corvallis Montgomery Ward department store. Virginia enjoyed traveling with Stanley when trucking took him out of state.
Another business venture took Stanley into major construction projects in the 1950s and 1960s. With Continental Construction Company, Stanley constructed many federal and state highways, including the Winnemucca Highway, the Terwilliger Curves of Interstate 5 in Portland, and the Klamath Falls Highway. His buildings include the Corvallis Elks Club, St. Mary’s Church, the Lincoln Center in Newport, and several buildings on the Oregon State University campus.
Virginia and Stanley raised three sons—Gary, William, and Dana—and a daughter, Lesley. The Wilt children inherited their father’s business acumen and have begun a variety of business ventures, including one joint project, Crystal Lake Storage, on the site of the old Dog Face Lumber Company. Stanley was also very involved in his community, but rarely in the limelight. “He was always helping someone,” Dana recalled. “He worked on the Round Table, and he helped a lot of people with their education, paid their tuition. He believed in the community he lived in and worked in.” “His community efforts weren’t part of joining a club,” Lesley added. “It was more a part of his lifestyle. If he saw a need, he took care of it.” Stanley’s commitment to the community was expressed most visibly, perhaps, through his work with a group of likeminded individuals to start a YMCA in Corvallis. He was instrumental in getting the building and keeping the organization alive. Virginia worked with him in this endeavor and taught swimming to mentally challenged children at the YMCA pool.
Another important community resource that Stanley Wilt contributed to Corvallis is the Episcopal Church building, which he moved to a new location and donated. It became the current Corvallis Arts Center. He also worked with T.J. Starker to chair the fundraising effort to save the foundation of Good Samaritan Hospital.