SAN BENITO, TX. -
Barry Eugene Wilder, 72, passed away on June 1, 2014 at his home in Cameron County.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Janet Wilder, his daughter Natalie Sperling (Gene) of Rutland, MA, his step-daughter Gayle Alter (Scott) of Marlboro, NJ and step-son Barry Hirschman (Randi) of East Windsor, NJ. He is also survived by two estranged children Scott and Robin and eleven grandchildren.
Born June 21, 1941 in the Bronx, NY, he had a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctorate of Education from the City College of New York. He had a career of 32 years as a special education teacher in middle schools of New York City. He was a special needs Boy Scouts leader and a coach for the Special Olympics, traveling with his teams to Albany, NY for statewide summer events.
The Wilders loved travel. They sold their home in New Jersey in 1996 and moved into a large fifth wheel trailer towed by a big truck. They spent 9 years as full-time RVers traveling all over the US and Canada before settling in the Rio Grande Valley in 2005. Barry was especially proud that he had traveled in all 50 states and visited the capitol buildings of each of the 50 states, as well as having visited in each Canadian Province and the Yukon Territory. The Wilders also traveled Europe, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Barry loved performing arts and was an active member of the Harlingen Preforming Arts Theater, having roles in "Love Sex and the IRS" and Over the River and Through the Woods". Mr. Wilder loved the New York Yankees. He was often seen driving around Harlingen in his pinstriped Chevy Spark with Yankee logos. One entire room in his home was dedicated to the NY Yankees baseball team. He even celebrated his 71st birthday at Yankee Stadium with eighteen family members present in a special section of the ball field.
His other great love was animals. His beloved Toy Poodle was named Mickey Charles after Mr. Wilder's favorite ball player, Mickey Charles Mantle. Barry volunteered at the Harlingen Humane Society every week. He brought home kittens that were too small to keep at the shelter and he and his wife, Janet, nurtured them in their home until they were old enough for adoption.
Funeral services were held out of state. The family requests that donations in Barry's memory be made to the Harlingen Humane Society, 1106 Markowksy, Harlingen, Texas 78550.
You are invited to sign the online guestbook or leave a memory at www.buckashcraft.com.
Arrangements are with Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home.
Published in Valley Morning Star on June 8, 2014