Caroline Wildman passed away on November 26, 2013 at Austin Gardens where she had been a resident for the past year and half.
As the only child of Augusta and Getha Degener, Caroline was born at her parent's Lodi ranch in 1920. Caroline attended Lodi schools and graduated from Lodi High School in 1936. As a young woman, she attended college in Stockton and San Francisco where she received a teaching credential. During WWII, Caroline taught school in Fort Bragg. It was in Fort Bragg that she met her future husband, Chester "Chet" Wildman.
Caroline and Chet began their married life in Albany and over the years lived in Albany, San Jose and San Diego. In 1975, they returned to the Lodi ranch and Caroline lived there until moving to Austin Gardens.
Caroline was the consummate volunteer. Wherever she lived, she found a cause or organization that welcomed her as a volunteer. In San Jose, she volunteered in local schools and with the March of Dimes. In San Diego, she received a volunteer award from the Salk Institute. She also supported Chet's many Shrine activities. When she returned to Lodi, she became a volunteer at LOEL Senior Center. There she established the "Little Corner Shop" to sell senior handicrafts. For 32 years, she served on the LOEL Senior Center Board of Directors. Caroline was recognized as the San Joaquin County Senior Woman of the Year in 1980.
In 2008, Caroline received the LOEL Senior Center Senior Volunteer William Holz Award and the Lodi Business and Professional Women Achievement Award. Caroline was a volunteer driver for in-home meals for over 12 years and volunteered with AARP. Caroline was a member and volunteer for the Lodi Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Countless seniors had their days brightened by Caroline's crafty creations. For years she led groups that made holiday tray favors, bibs and lap ropes for seniors.
Caroline is survived by her son, Charles Wildman, daughter-in-law Claudine, her grandson Christopher, his wife Heather, great grandsons Cooper and Colin and grandson Craig, his wife Sara, and great granddaughter Zoe. Her husband Chet Wildman preceded her in death.
Caroline's family would like to especially thank the Spenker and Costamagna families who provided friendship and assistance to Caroline over the years. The family extends their sincere appreciation to all the caregivers who provided care to Caroline in her later years.
Friends and family are invited to gather to share stories and memories of Caroline at LOEL Senior Center 105 S. Washington St in Lodi on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Caroline's memory be made to Hospice of San Joaquin County 3888 Pacific Ave. Stockton, CA 95204 or LOEL Senior Center 105 S. Washington St. Lodi, CA 95240.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Dec. 3 to Dec. 10, 2013