The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Homepage

August 12, 2006

Wikipedia founder, Huntsville native Jimmy Wales, finds fame ‘really cool’

Doris Wales’ husband, Jimmy, wasn’t sure what she was thinking when she bought a set of World Book Encyclopedia from a traveling salesman in 1968. After all, their first-born son, also named Jimmy, was not yet 3.

“At the time, my husband said ‘I’m glad you got them, but don’t you think he’s a little bit young?’ but I wanted to have those,” said Mrs. Wales, a former educator who is now a pharmacist at Publix on Madison Boulevard.

More than 37 years later, Mrs. Wales’ purchase seems predestined.

Little Jimmy began reading at 4, and looked forward to receiving an envelope each year from World Book. Inside were stickers that encyclopedia owners could place on pages to update information.

“If someone discovered a new planet, or when they developed space shuttles, the original books we bought didn’t have all that in it,” Mrs. Wales said. So she and little Jimmy would update the books, learning as they carefully placed the stickers.

Learning would become a lifelong love.

Little Jimmy is Jimmy Donal Wales, 40, founder of Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia that has intrigued the world and brought him dozens of honors and accolades, including being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in May.

Geek seeks new frontiers

Born in Huntsville in 1966, Wales was taught in his childhood by his mother and grandmother, Erma. The women owned and operated House of Learning Elementary School, where as few as four students might be enrolled in each grade.

At the time, Huntsville had come into prominence as the incubator for missile development at Redstone Arsenal and space research at Marshall Space Flight Center, which opened as a NASA facility in 1960.

Wales was a month shy of his third birthday when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, and the excitement of living in the Rocket City stayed with him.

Text Only
Top Local News
Today's Local Feature

State and Nation
Local Sports
Sports
Lifestyles
Calendar of Events
  • Limestone Ledger 7/24/14

    FRIDAY
    Art Stroll
    The Athens Arts League Summer Art Stroll is 4-8 p.m. Friday on the downtown Limestone County Courthouse lawn. The free, family-friendly event will include music and 25 artists including painters, ceramicists, jewelry makers, mixed media and textile artists.

    July 24, 2014

  • Church Bulletin 7/24/14
Obituaries
Weather Radar
Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Business Marquee
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.