Wislar, Elizabeth

WISLAR (Colton), "BJ"

Elizabeth Jane

Elizabeth Jane "BJ" Colton Wislar passed peacefully on March 30, 2024, in Austell, GA, age 89. BJ was preceded in death by her husband, Capt. George Rowland Wislar of Trenton, New Jersey. Born March 19, 1935, in Sunbury, PA, to parents David Winthrop and May Belle Smith Colton, the family moved frequently for job assignments during her father's career as an engineer for Lederle Labs.

Although she lived in many states, her time in Park Ridge, NJ, afforded her some of the lasting relationships she had through her life. She became an accomplished ballerina in her teens and had the lead role in several performances. When her father's career relocated the family to the midwest, BJ enrolled in boarding school at Northfield Mount Hermon, in Massachusetts. BJ's first summer job at 16 involved working as a cashier in the restaurant at Belleview Municipal Airport, outside Omaha. One pilot, looking for someone to take aerial photos, agreed to let her try her skills, and she loved to recount the story of going up in a Piper Cub with the door wired open, secured by only one lap belt, while the pilot tipped the plane on its side for her to shoot. One of her shots of the airport was enlarged as a mural and hung on the wall of the airport.

BJ attended Cornell University, graduating from the School of Hotel Administration at 20. She married Jerry Cates that summer, and they moved to Atlanta, which BJ has called home for 70 years. She raised a devoted family of six daughters, taught at Christ the King School for several years, and later worked for Northwestern Mutual, becoming a member of their Million Dollar Round Table. She was a beautiful tennis player, loved bridge, and was an expert seamstress, sewing everything from church dresses to tennis skirts for her daughters.

BJ married George Wislar in 1981, and welcomed his three sons into the family. BJ learned a love for golf, developing yet another talent beautifully. She was beloved by caddies and staff at both Peachtree Golf Club and at Augusta National Golf Club.

BJ's faith meant the world to her, and she found inspiration and peace in her last several years at Christ Church Atlanta. In her final 10 years, she also found friendship, laughter, bridge partners, good neighbors, and her weekly pub group in the wonderful Presbyterian Village community.

BJ is survived by her six daughters, Jennifer Hull (Steve), Julie Dudley (Beau), Diana Parks (David), Holly Wynn (Bob), Amy Leath (Mack), and Mindy Banks (Marvin); and three stepsons, Reed, George (Jan) and Phil (Kerri) Wislar. She leaves behind an amazing legacy of 18 beloved grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren; as well as many stepgrandchildren, nieces, nephews; and her close friend, Sherwood Preece. In addition to her parents, BJ was preceded in death by her brother, David Colton.

A memorial service will be celebrated at the Presbyterian Village of Austell on Monday, April 15, 2024 at 12:00 PM. A private family interment will be held separately.

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