Richard Herbert Wilde

Prof. Richard Herbert Wilde

Richard Wilde was born on Nov. 16, 1920 in Milwaukee, Wis. He was attending Milwaukee State Teachers College in 1942 when, with World War II and the draft looming, he enlisted in the Signal Corps. He served with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater until he was discharged in 1946. He then enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Wisconsin with the support of the GI Bill.

Dick and Louise Mills, his future wife, met at MSTC and were married at an air force base during the war. The marriage lasted over 70 years and there are four children, Bruce and Eric of New York City, Paul of Long Beach, and Carol Wuenschell of Arcadia, and seven grandchildren.

Dick was one of the first Fulbright Scholars which enabled him to do research in London. He received a PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin in 195l and accepted a position at Cal State University, Long Beach, which was then a state college and only two years old. For the next 39 years he served the college as professor, department chair, dean, and vice-president. Dick was active in college politics, and had a significant effect on the university's development. Among other things, he was instrumental in the establishment of the faculty senate, and as Dean of Letters and Science he introduced pass-fail courses, experimental courses, the Black Studies department, and other ethnic studies programs. More recently, after returning to teaching, he developed and taught in the World History program. He was also proud of his role in nurturing The History Teacher, now a thriving journal published by the History Department, and he devoted many, many hours to evaluating submissions and copy-editing articles.

After final retirement in 1990, he and Louise engaged in extensive travel, and he enjoyed his hobbies of golf and gardening. Louise was well known at the University as a tutor who helped many students with English and other subjects. Dick outlived four university presidents and nearly all of his old colleagues. He was a good man, a faithful husband, a supportive father, and a loyal colleague. He died, at home, on February 19, 2014, after a long battle with prostate cancer. There will be a memorial observance later at the university. Donations may be made in his memory to the Richard and Louise Wilde Scholarship Fund. (Checks to the 49er Foundation with 'Wilde Endowment' on the memo line, California State University, Long Beach, Suite 332.) Please sign the guestbook at

Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Mar. 2, 2014