MENZI-Donald Wilder. Slipped away peacefully at his Greenwich Village home on the morning of Wednesday, November 21st, just shy of his 75th birthday. Born in Ypsilanti, MI, Donald traversed the land between his family of Congregational missionaries in China, the Episcopalian priesthood and, finally, Reconstructionist Judaism in his adopted and beloved New York City. He attended Oberlin College, Bexley Hall Seminary when it was at Kenyon, Hebrew Union College and New York University for his Ph.D. His life was a blend of religion, Kabbala, music, education and what makes cities work. Since retiring from the Research Foundation at CUNY where his lifelong fascination with work-force development and education was given free rein, he has devoted himself to editing his ancestors' China papers in juxtaposition with contemporaneous New York Times reportage going back to the 1860s through the 1940s. The archive is expected to appear online at the Yale School of Divinity. Predeceased by his last wife, Matlea Fagin, he is survived by his wife of 13 years Jane Weprin-Menzi, and sons Mark (Sandy), Aaron (Aara), Richard (Naomi Luppescu), and daughter Rachel (Roberto Alvelaiz) and granddaugters Rachel, Gabriella and Teresa and grandsons Valdis, Liez and William. Also surviving him are his Weprin stepsons, Michael (Anne), Andrew (Tasha Fogelman) and Adam (Ludmila Silva) and stepdaughter Julia (Ryan Suda) as well stepgrandsons Connor, Cooper and Jack and stepgranddaughters Ariela (Ryan Wolff), Samira and Lily. All of the above, along with so many others, will miss this menschlichkeit man forever. Funeral services will be held on Friday morning at 11am at his synagogue, The West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Ave., at the Southwest corner of 69th St., to which donations may be made if one should happen to desire.
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Published in The New York Times on Nov. 22, 2012