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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What a man!

I never worked with John- I mean Wilke (no one, except maybe his wife Nancy, called him John.) But I'm proud to say I was his friend for almost 15 years.

Wilke was the nicest man I have ever met. Usually, when you hear something like that at a funeral or memorial, you think to yourself, yeah right! But, in his case, it is absolutely true. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone-anyone we knew anyway. He did sometimes have some choice words for genuinely corrupt politicians, or others he may have written, or talked about. But he never badmouthed anyone in our large circle of friends, even when some of us deserved to be badmouthed.

That's just who he was. He was the kind of friend you always looked forward to seeing, and whose word you could always trust. Always cheerful, and incredibly optimistic, cynicism seemed something he was incapable of. We could all stand to be a little like John Wilke. I curse the world that took him away from us so prematurely, and my heart is filled with sadness for Nancy, the kids, and all of us who will never see him, or his like, again.


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