Wilson Baker Springs was a key founder of the Ponderosa Group.
If Myrtle Beach ever hopes to build a future as bright as its early past, we will need great men of integrity and vision like Wilson Baker “Teedie” Springs, his family, and his contemporaries.
Wilson Baker Springs, 91, passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Wilson, or “Teedie” as he was known to his family and friends, was born on January 2, 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, a son of the late Brigadier General Holmes Buck Springs and Louise Wilson Springs. He was predeceased by his parents; his first wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Moore Springs; two sisters and their husbands, Louise (Wese) Springs Crews and her husband, Rowan, and Alice (Tootsie) Springs Donevant and her husband, Pat; three brothers, Dr. Holmes Buck (Booby) Springs, Jr., as well as his wife, Shirley, David Albert Springs, and Albert Adams Springs III.
Wilson grew up in Myrtle Beach, graduating from Myrtle Beach High School in 1945 and from the University of South Carolina in 1949. While at Carolina, he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity, and after graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration, he enlisted in the Air Force and attended Officer Candidate School at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and proudly served his country in both Tripoli, North Africa and stateside. In 1953, after completing his service, Wilson returned to Myrtle Beach to take over H.B. Springs Company. His late father, General Springs, had founded the real estate and insurance company in 1928, several years after moving his family to Myrtle Beach from Greenville, South Carolina. While the main purpose of the move was to assist the Woodside brothers in developing and building Pine Lakes Country Club and The Ocean Forest Hotel, it also enabled his father, General Springs, to bring the family closer to his own childhood home, Waverly Plantation in Pawley’s Island, and to establish the family company. Wilson was later joined in the business by his brother, Albert, and together they managed H.B. Springs Company for more than 50 years. In recent years, the business has been operated by Albert’s three sons. Wilson continued, however, until his death, to be one of the owners, as well as President and CEO of Ponderosa, Incorporated. During his almost seventy year career, Wilson felt privileged to be involved with numerous development and business ventures in the area, holding PirateLand Campground and Caledonia and True Blue Golf Courses closest to his heart.
Wilson retired after serving more than thirty years on the Board of Directors of Coastal Federal Savings and Loan and Coastal Financial Corporation. He was a board member of Myrtle Beach National Corporation, a past chairman of Ocean View Foundation and a past president of the Myrtle Beach Civitan Club, having been recognized as a fifty year member. He was also a former member of the Dunes Golf and Beach Club and a founding member of Wachesaw Plantation. As his parents were instrumental in the formation of First United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach, he was a lifelong member, serving faithfully on numerous committees and boards over the years.
Wilson, or Teedie, was an avid outdoorsman all of his life, spending many days quail and dove hunting in the surrounding area fields and fishing the ocean waters and the creeks of Murrells Inlet, as well as the local inland rivers. Many years were spent duck hunting on Cane Island near Georgetown and for more than thirty years he traveled multiple times annually with family and friends to Sarben, Nebraska for both pheasant and duck hunting. In the late 1950’s, Teedie and his brothers, along with some close friends, began a tradition of gathering every Thursday to enjoy a day of either fishing or hunting, depending on the season. The group ended these days by preparing and sharing their bounty as stories and “fish tales” were exchanged. Teedie loved to tell a story and often amazed his listeners with his remarkable recall, even in his later years. Over the years, many have enjoyed the “Thursday Crowd” and the tradition continues today with strong friendships and bonds having been forged.
His family and his friends have always been the most valued gifts in Wilson’s life. He was ever faithful to both, as well as kind and generous; he was truly an honorable “man of his word,” both respected and dearly loved.
Wilson is survived by his wife, Sandra Bradley Pruett Springs; his three daughters and his three sons-in-law, Anne Springs Wilson and her husband, Henry Neyle Wilson, Margaret Springs Dyer and her husband, Thomas Howard Dyer, and Louise Springs Smith and her husband, Ashby Kenneth Smith; his three grandchildren, William Marion Wilson, Alexander (Alec) Springs Wilson, and Elizabeth Neyle Wilson, and Ken’s son, Dustin Wade Smith, and his wife, Meredith Cross Smith, and their children; Sandra’s sons, Dave Pruett and his wife, Tammy, Steve Pruett and his wife, Shelley, and their children, her son, John Pruett, and her late son, Doug Pruett’s wife, Jill, and their children. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Carmen Cherry Springs, and Ann Mathis Springs, as well as by many beloved nieces, nephews, and their families; the beloved “girls at the office.”