Milford's Junior Wilson healing with the power of music

By Elle Wood
Posted 4/6/24

MILFORD – Sometimes it takes the power of music to heal.

Musician and Luthier Junior Wilson is currently at Polaris Rehabilitation Center in Milford after taking a big fall and having to …

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Milford's Junior Wilson healing with the power of music


MILFORD – Sometimes it takes the power of music to heal.

Longtime local musician and luthier Junior Wilson has been at Polaris Rehabilitation Center in Milford since March after taking a Jan. 30 fall, which resulted in surgery on his skull for internal bleeding.

Chad Cooper, Mr. Wilson’s stalwart percussionist, has been with him for every step of the recovery.

They been together for about 40 years after they met through their mutual love of music. They both became involved with music at a young age and met while Mr. Wilson was doing the lights for a show in which Mr. Cooper was performing.

As they got older, they went their separate ways and followed their own musical paths. However, years later, they started to perform together under the name Junior and Chatty, playing around the area at various country clubs, nightspots and more.

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Wilson, now 75, was doing what he loved the most, working on guitars, when we took a life-threatening fall.

“He was going up the stairs one evening with two guitars in his hands going up to his workshop,” said Mr. Cooper. “He lost his balance and fell back all the way down the steps.”

The stairs to his Milford workshop were something that Mr. Cooper has always worried about.

“The stairs behind his house are so steep,” said Mr. Cooper. “I would not go up them anymore.”

But one thing was for sure. He wanted to keep the instruments from being damaged.

“He did not let the guitars go,” said Mr. Cooper.

He got up from the fall with a little blood on his head and cleaned up and then continued with his night. His wife, Bonnie, then noticed he was slurring his words and decided to take him to the emergency room, explained Mr. Cooper.

“Next thing, I’m getting at 5:30 in the morning is, ‘Hey Chad, they are taking Junior in for surgery. They have to go into his skull,’” said Mr. Cooper. “I’m like ‘What?’ That’s when she proceeded to tell me that it was the craziest thing she experienced.”

When the surgery was completed, Mr. Cooper headed over to the hospital to see Mr. Wilson. Although the surgery was successful, the sight of his longtime partner had him very nervous for what was to come.

“I was thinking to myself, there was no way this guy was going to make it,” said Mr. Cooper.

Mr. Wilson started at the Bayhealth Sussex Campus in Milford. He was then transported to the Bayhealth Kent Campus in Dover to be close to his surgeon.

He was then sent up to St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington to begin in the rehabilitation center. He was then sent back closer to home to the Polaris Rehabilitation Center in Milford.

On April 4, Mr. Wilson celebrated his 75th birthday, with family and friends visiting him at the rehab center.

Mr. Cooper said Mr. Wilson is showing improvements each day. He has begun to feed himself, hold conversations and stand for longer periods of time.

“He has turned the corner and doing a lot better,” said Mr. Cooper.

On Nov. 10 from noon to 4 p.m., the Frantic Music Project will present Jammin’ for Junior at Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, a benefit event for Mr. Wilson. All proceeds will go toward his recovery costs.

They are planning to have a silent auction with donations from different businesses and organizations, dinner, live music and more.

His family and friends are hoping he can attend the event in person, and even perform if he is able.

“I keep telling him ‘We have a gig November 6. You think we can pull that off’?’” said Mr. Cooper. “I am just trying to keep his energy up. He thinks he can pull it off and I would not be shocked if he does.

“The doctor told me that the more musicians we can get to visit Junior is better because it works his mind and he starts thinking about music. We are getting his mind thinking that we have stuff for him to do outside of the center.”

Mr. Cooper has been touched by the outpouring of love shown to Mr. Wilson.

“All the musicians around here have stopped to see Junior and are supporting and pulling for him,” said Mr. Cooper.

“He has a heart of gold.”

His family and friends want to get him back to doing what he loves.

“Our goal is to get him to the point to at least get back in his workshop to work on the guitars,” said Mr. Cooper. “We would be happy with that.

“Now if he can play sitting down, we will take that.”

For more information on the fundraiser or to donate, visit

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