BURLINGTON, N.C. and SOUTH BOSTON, Va. - Michael "Mike" Wilder, of Burlington and South Boston, died April 14, 2013 at Alamance Regional Medical Center of natural causes. He was 45.
He is survived by his mother, Eloise Ashley Wilder, of South Boston; his siblings, Susan Walters of Greensboro, N.C. and Brent Wilder of Westerville, Ohio; and his niece and brother-in-law, Shannon and Robert "Bob" Walters, also of Greensboro. He is also survived by many beloved close friends, including his family of coworkers and other professional colleagues, and other relatives including aunts Ruth Henderson, Evelyn Brown, Ruby Duncan and Ruth Albright. He is preceded in death by his father, the Rev. John William Wilder of South Boston.
Mike was a respected local newspaper journalist
who worked as a longtime reporter for the Burlington Times-News, most notably covering the Alamance-Burlington School System and serving as a faith and features reporter. During his career in the news industry, he also served as the managing editor of The Sanford Herald and The Reidsville Review. He began his post-college career at the Alamance News, also having worked prior to graduation for the Mecklenburg Sun and South Boston News & Record.
In addition to being a talented writer and interviewer, Mike was a gifted musician who trained in his youth as a classical pianist and widely shared his skill among area churches and assisted living facilities. He also enjoyed singing and active church relationships throughout his adult life.
Mike was a graduate of William & Mary, where he was a student reporter for the alternative conservative newspaper, and member of the College Republicans. He also briefly worked as a post-graduate intern for a news service in Washington, D.C. Mike was a high school graduate of the then-Halifax County Senior High School in South Boston, from which he maintained several friendships with both classmates and teachers, and where he was active in band and the competitive academic quiz team.
Mike was widely known for having an irreverent sense of humor and a distinctive loud, infectious laugh; he especially enjoyed getting others' goats and finding a sense of fun in otherwise difficult or tense situations. Conversely, he was very effective at delighting young children with a sense of wonder and silliness. Throughout his life, he was also a voracious reader and enjoyed consistent self-education on a wide variety of topics, including history and religion.
The family thanks the staff and volunteers at Alamance Regional Medical Center, including the Alamance Regional Cancer Center, for their excellent care and support.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be considered to the Times-News' fundraising efforts toward the May 17, 2013
of Alamance County event under the team name of the Times News Torch Trotters, or other
fundraising causes; other cancer research or support organizations; or the
. Due to Mike's generosity as an organ donor, his corneas will provide eyesight to two individuals.
Memorial services will be held in South Boston and Burlington. There will be no formal visitation, but the family will be available at 1700 Talley Street, South Boston for individual visits. Times are:
-South Boston - 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20 at First Presbyterian Church at 800 N. Main St., South Boston, Va. 25492, officiated by the C. Russell Lee, Jr., D.Min and Jim Luedtke.
-Burlington - 2 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Elon Community Church, 271 North Williamson Avenue, Elon, N.C. 27244. Anyone who would like to share memories of Mike is encouraged to bring remarks that can be delivered in under a minute. The written remarks will be compiled into a memory book for his family.