Paul Wilson; Sunkist Executive, Founding Chairman of Health Net


Paul Wilson, founding chairman of Health Net, California’s second-largest health maintenance organization, has died, company officials announced this week. He was 76.

Wilson, who was chairman of Health Net’s Board of Directors from 1977 to 1989, died Sept. 4 of complications of rheumatoid arthritis while on a cruise off British Columbia, said James B. Lucas, company spokesman.

Born in Los Angeles, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UC Berkeley and worked for Sunkist Growers for 38 years, retiring in 1977 as treasurer. He also had worked for a federal program called Volunteer Corps of America in which he assisted food grower co-ops in Jordan and Sri Lanka.


Through his ties with Sunkist, Wilson was elected to the Board of Directors of Blue Cross of Southern California in 1972. Blue Cross formed Health Net in 1977 and Wilson was elected founding chairman of Health Net’s Board of Directors. Woodland Hills-based Health Net now serves 845,000 people throughout California.

Wilson remained on the Blue Cross board until 1981 and on the Health Net board until September, 1989. He also served on the Board of Directors of Valley Presbyterian Hospital from 1977 to 1988.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Marjorie, a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Wilson’s body was cremated and burial was at sea. Donations in his name are asked to the San Fernando Valley branch of the Arthritis Foundation.