1948 - 2007Skilled and gifted craftsman, Glenn Bird Wilder of Trumansburg, died January 9th of lung cancer at the Hospicare residence in Ithaca, New York, at the age of 58.Glenn was a workingman and an intellectual; strong, well read and well traveled, filled with an innate sense of justice and grace. He was an insightful critic, loving friend, excellent cook, and brilliant storyteller. His acerbic wit, creative genius, and unqualified affection brought love back to him.Glenn was born in Albany, New York on March 2, 1948, and grew up in Southern California. After graduating from Claremont High School in 1966, he studied ceramics at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley. Glenn was a child of the era. He turned his back on the perceived inauthenticity of what he would later half-jokingly call "the establishment."He traveled widely and inexpensively throughout Europe, and especially enjoyed North Africa, the Middle East and Mexico. Shortly before his death he toured Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos.Glenn was opposed to U.S. Military intervention in Vietnam and was active in the movement to end the war. In 1970 he became a designated Conscientious Objector and served as an aid to paraplegic Veterans in Berkeley, CA. He remained dedicated to the anti-war movement throughout his life, and was opposed to U.S. Military policies in the Persian Gulf.Pottery was his career when he came to Trumansburg in the early 70s. Though his designs are functional, they have an elegant, almost artifact quality to them. Smooth forms in cobalt blue and white porcelain, hand decorated with a contemporary interpretation of oriental brush work, define the signature Wilder works. He showed annually at the prestigious craft fair, in Rhineback, NY. His distinctive pieces grace many Tompkins County residences.In the 1980s Glenn began his second career as builder, finish carpenter, and furniture maker. Many grateful clients live with and enjoy his work, and unusual commissions, including a Greek Revival chicken house and a garden shed disguised as a Greek Temple, which have appeared in national magazines such as House and Garden.A lifelong baseball fan, Glenn was a valuable member of the Eddy Street Truckers and the Rongo Dux softball teams, where he played third base. "Cat quick," was the way he referred to the demands of playing that position.Glenn leaves a son, Reuben (Renee) Wilder of Brooklyn; and a granddaughter, Marie. He also leaves his loving friend and partner of many years, Susan Sauvageau of Seneca Falls. Glenn is survived by his mother, Marion Wilder of Denver, Colorado; a sister, Kyle Wilder (Peter) Schulman, also of Denver; his nephew, Nick; and brothers, Bruce Wilder of Alameda, California, and Wayne Wilder of London, England. Glenn was preceded in death by his father, Henry Wilder; and a brother, Guy Eric Wilder.In every gesture Glenn affirmed the beauty and the duality of life. He confronted his illness with courage. He will be missed by a large family of supportive wonderful friends.A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. The Glenn B. Wilder Fund for Peace and Justice has been established in his honor. Donations for this fund in memory of Glenn can be sent to The Community Foundation of Tompkins County, 309 North Aurora St., Ithaca, NY 14850. Condolences can be sent to 61 Fall St., Seneca Falls, NY 13148.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Jan. 11, 2007.