BEMIDJI -- When Bob Wilson used to visit his brother, Dick, at the office, Dick never looked very busy.
“I’d go down to see him at his office,” Bob said. “I’d say, ‘You’re not too busy in your office here.’ And he would say, ‘Well, I got all my work done.’
“He was given so much time. He was given like three weeks to do a McDonald’s ad or something, and he’d get it done in one day.”
Still, Dick Wilson had a busy advertising career. The Bemidji native became known as the “King of Jingles” within Twin Cities ad circles, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and he even wrote the lyrics to the Minnesota Twins fight song “We’re Gonna Win, Twins” that echoes throughout Minnesota every time the home team trots out onto Target Field.
“I’m proud of Dick, what he’s done. He’s worked really hard at it,” said Bob, 86. “He had a talent. … He could write a jingle in one day. It just came to him.”
Dick died Aug. 29, a week after suffering a stroke, at the age of 83.
"The Minnesota Twins organization is saddened by the passing of Dick Wilson," Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a statement. "The ballclub extends our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. ‘We’re Gonna Win, Twins’ helped introduce Major League Baseball to fans across the Upper Midwest. The catchy tune quickly became synonymous with Twins baseball at the ballpark, on radio or on television and, with its exuberance, still resonates with fans of all generations."
Dick wrote “We’re Gonna Win, Twins” before the start of the team’s inaugural season in 1961.
Dick earned a journalism degree from the University of Colorado, and it was there that Bob started to see the creative gears turning in Dick’s head.
“I didn’t realize he was so talented until I saw what he did at college,” Bob said. “When he was a freshman there at the University of Colorado, they had a local play. And Dick said something like, ‘I could do a better job than that.’ And then, by golly, he did.”
Dick wrote religious musicals on the side, and he even reached the Guthrie Theatre stage with his production “He Lived the Good Life.”
Still, he made his biggest mark in advertising. According to the Star Tribune, Dick started out as a copywriter at the ad agency Campbell Mithun in 1957. He eventually left to co-found his own firm, Wilson-Griak, alongside the late Steve Griak in 1968. It became the Twin Cities’ largest and most well-regarded production house. Dick returned to Campbell Mithun as vice president in 1977 and moved to Carmichael Lynch Advertising Agency in 1983.
Outside of work, Dick enjoyed the outdoors and golfing, especially when he could beat his brother.
“Dick (would say), ‘Let’s go play a game of golf.’ And I knew what he wanted,” Bob said. “He wanted to come beat my butt off. And he did, too. He had gotten real good at golf.”
The Wilson brothers grew up with their sister, Nancy (Nelson), in the family’s log cabin on Lake Boulevard in Bemidji. Bob recalled a positive home life.
“We had a good relationship together,” Bob said of his brother. “We had good parents. We did family things. My brother, sister and I, we did lots of stuff together. I think we were a typical Bemidji family.”
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Macalester College Chapel in St. Paul.