Wiles E. Converse

Converse, Wiles E.

Rochester: Passed away peacefully in Rochester, New York on January 29, 2013 at the age of 92. Wiles was born in Lyons, New York in 1920, the son of Walter 'Ray' and Luella Wiles Converse. He grew up in Palmyra and summered at Sodus Point where he and his brother, Paul, learned to sail and race a 'Star' class sailboat on Sodus Bay. After high school, Wiles attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he earned his undergraduate degree in business and was active in the Lambda Chi fraternity. He stayed on at Penn's Wharton School to earn a Master's Degree in Business Administration.

In 1950, Wiles married Marjorie Matson of Corning, New York after she had graduated from Purdue University. They lived in Raleigh, North Carolina and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Wiles was a university professor, prior to settling in Rochester in 1955.

In Rochester, Wiles worked for Bausch and Lomb during the week and excelled at racing sailboats of all types with his family and friends on Lake Ontario and Sodus Bay on the weekends. In the evenings, he continued teaching business courses at the local academic institutions.

After retiring from B&L, Wiles was a successful independent businessman owning and operating the Financial Business Service. He also served on the boards of the Rochester Yacht Club, the Sodus Bay Yacht Club and several other organizations including the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford and the Pittsford Republican Committee.

In addition to his family, Wiles' interests included college football, the New York Yankees, reading, entertaining, fitness and healthy nutrition. Having played the trumpet in his youth, Wiles enjoyed all types of music, especially classical, jazz and marching bands, and was a consistent patron of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wiles followed in his father's footsteps into the Freemasonry to serve the greater good. After becoming a Master Mason and the Past Master in the Masonic Lodge of Pittsford, he went on to serve as a Damascus Shrine Mason, in support of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Wiles is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Marj; their two children, Cynthia Converse Gentsch and Mark Converse; four grandchildren: Katherine, Beth, Hayes and Mary Shea; and his brother, Paul Converse.

A celebration of Wiles' life will be held at 3:00 p.m. on February 8, 2013 at the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Feb. 3, 2013