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."

Post comments or photos here.


Big Papi

My Big Papi

I met Wilke for the first time in early April, 2006. It was a sunny day. We met at the Big Hunt.

I spent the next four hours going into excruciating detail everything I knew about land holdings, lawmakers and earmarks. That October, the story ran about Charlie Taylor and other lawmakers using earmarks to boost the value of their landholdings. In November, Charlie Taylor loses his bid for reelection.

In a short time, John became Wilke and I was known as Kash.

I, like the rest of you, have dozens of stories like this. The bigger question is who is going to fill this massive loss to the public interest and the fight to keep the bastards honest. Who will fill that void?

The image that I keep remembering that makes me laugh out loud is John in his Big Papi shirt. It was the ugliest red shirt I had ever seen, but he was so damn proud of it. Anytime I was down in the dumps he seemed to be wearing that shirt. It always made me chuckle.

Many of you had known him for decades. I only knew him for three short years. In that time he became my big brother, my friend, and mutual muckracker.

He will always be my Big Papi.


Keith Ashdown

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