Marilyn C. Wilson, who owned the Montauk Greenhouse for many years and had been a Montauk real estate broker, died in the intensive care unit at Southampton Hospital on March 10 after a fall at her home and subsequent illness. She was 82.
Murph Wilson, as she was known, started visiting Montauk with her husband, William Wilson, in the early 1960s. His love of fishing and her love of the beach drew the couple to the area, a son, William (B.J.) Wilson Jr., said. Mrs. Wilson found what she said was her dream home, on Soundview Drive in Montauk, while her husband was out fishing and agreed to buy it. Surprised, Mr. Wilson asked how they were going to pay it. Her son said his mother told his father not to worry, saying, “I will get a summer job at Gosman’s.” And she did.
Born on Jan. 18, 1932 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, she was the only child of John E. Murphy, a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department, and the former Celia Belken. Her mother died when she was 9 years old. She and her husband were married on Dec. 31, 1953.
The couple established a horticulture business in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and started a family. They later moved to Wheatley Gardens in Greenvale, where they ran a large company and won numerous awards for plants and arrangements at the 1969 World’s Fair. A year later, they left Greenvale and moved to Montauk full time, opening Montauk Greenhouse on Main Street, which they ran through the 1970s.
They were early members of the Montauk Village Association and were instrumental in improving the downtown area with trees and plants. They also won numerous horticulture awards and an award for design at the Montauk Yacht Club.
In the late 1970s, Mrs. Wilson went into real estate with the Pospisil agency. She then joined the Tuma Agency, followed by her husband. Eventually they started Wilson’s Real Estate, which they ran from home until retiring in 2004. Mr. Wilson died in 2006.
In addition to William (B.J.) Wilson Jr. of Montauk, another son, Ian Scott Wilson, who lives in Florida, and a daughter, Marianne Rucci of Lake Carmel, N.Y., survive, as do five grandchildren.
A celebration of her life is being planned for the summer. Her family has asked that donations be made in her memory to the Montauk Fire Department ambulance squad, 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.