Let's capture some of why we loved Wilke so much. As one friend of his put it:

"...write up an anecdote – some story where they watched Wilke build up into righteous anger when reporting a story... or ironing out a crease in the fabric of the Journal bureau... And someone should talk about him tearing up when he described taking his kid to college…..Or when he became nearly inconsolable when the anthrax story came back and cost him two fantastic seats at the Nats-Mets game. Describe a time he filled in for people, picked up their loads for them, counseled them, slipped them incredible sources, shared bylines... that will keep him alive and you (and the rest of us) afloat."

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Ah, Wilke

Ah, Wilke.

There are still so many stories that need your investigation and precise telling. So many blowhards in need of your patented, reverse-speed fanjet interrogation blowback. Whooosssshhhh! (Like those birds that downed Sully's jet.) So many bad guys, running lousy schemes, left for you to de-pants and throw into the street. Earmarks weren't a mystery this year to a lot of us because you laid it out so nicely in a story way before the economy tanked and America's reboot began. As just one example....

It wasn't that you were impolite; rather, you were professional, persistent. Relentless and ever ready to ask the tough questions that needed to be asked. No cellphone has ever gotten such a workout. You could whip it out like an assassin drawing a derringer.

Readers everywhere should be crying. You were a reporter's reporter. No I'm not full of shit. You were. Like a lot of your colleagues, present and former, I recall how good it felt when you said you liked my story. It felt good because you were so passionate about reporting. You knew.

I also recall Wilke, the nice guy I met for the first time in the mid-'80s. You were a BusinessWeek reporter, and I was with a trade paper. We were gathered outdoors at a huge industry shindig/barbecue. Sunny day. Brilliant blue sky, barbecue smoke and a nice break from the boring conference. A mutual friend from DC introduced us. You were in the big time; I was wondering where I was headed. You made the guy who made it to the national publication look very classy that day. You made me and everyone around you your news pal, beers in hand, a regular guy eager to swap experiences, while also commenting hilariously on the venue, which happened to be a big telecom industry event. Years later I got to work with you at the Journal. You were still the same guy, down to earth, bluntly honest, opinionated yet delighted to hear another view.

Your appetite for the news was massive, matched in intensity by your amazing energy in pursuing it and the kind of focus that only true champions possess.

Peace, my friend, and thank you for the memories and inspiration./Keller
John J. Keller

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