Learn the history of Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation.


  • 1948


    After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Air Corps, Huey Wilson attended the Kansas City School of Jewelry Design and Manufacturing in Jewelry Design and Manufacture, following in one of his brother’s footsteps. 

  • 1949


    Huey John Wilson married Angelina Josephine Mumphrey in an intimate ceremony at his sister’s home. In the same year, Mr. Wilson opened his first business, a jewelry and watch repair shop. He often traveled throughout southern Louisiana selling jewelry out of the trunk of his car while Mrs. Wilson maintained the city store on 3rd Street and Laurel Street.

  • 1953


    Mr. Wilson graduated from the Gemological Institute of America in New York City, the same year he entered the retail jewelry business with the opening of National Jewelry. 

  • 1955


    Mr. Wilson opened Huey’s Jewelry & Loan.

  • 1957


    The Wilsons founded H. J. Wilson Co., Inc., their first catalog showroom retail business on Main Street in downtown Baton Rouge, La. 

  • 1971


    After going public, H. J. Wilson Co., Inc. grew to include 82 stores throughout the South. 

  • 1981


    Mr. Wilson is honored with the Horatio Alger Award, recognizing his exemplary dedication, purpose, and perseverance. 

  • 1985


    At the time of its sale to Service Merchandise, H. J. Wilson Co., Inc. had become the largest company headquartered in Baton Rouge, employing 10,000 people and spanning 13 states.

  • 1986


    Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation is created with a $5,000 contribution from the Wilsons. The Foundation focuses on education, healthcare, human services and prison reentry in the greater Baton Rouge area.

  • 1988


    Mr. Wilson returned to his love of jewelry and opened Wilson’s Fine Jewelers in Cortana Mall, as well as 4 additional stores. 

  • 1990


    The Wilsons, together with Alder ‘Doc’ Laborde, co-founded Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc., an oilfield service business headquartered in Houma, Louisiana. 

  • 2000


    The Foundation issues its first round of grant awards to 13 local nonprofits, for a total of $225,022.

  • 2005


    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Foundation contributed $1 million to the Hurricane Katrina Displaced Persons Fund.

  • 2008


    Mr. Wilson passed away on his 80th birthday.

  • 2015


    The Foundation marked its 15th year of grantmaking by launching a three-year, $3 million Prison Reentry Initiative to support a reduction in Louisiana’s recidivism rate and increase the cost savings to the state associated with the successful reintegration of prisoners.

  • 2016


    Mrs. Wilson passed peacefully in her home. By 2016, the Foundation had invested more than $37 million into the Capital Region. 


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