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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Great memories

Such great memories being shared here. I was one of the many young journalists Wilke extended a warm welcome to at the Journal. I was just a kid from Iowa, hoping to turn a summer internship into a job, and he was larger than life — a big-time investigative journalist at the WSJ. I remember feeling so privileged just to be invited out for drinks and oysters with the "posse" — let alone to be treated with such respect and professionalism.

To Wilke I feel I owe one of the best experiences of my life, and that was being exposed to Washington journalism performed at absolutely the highest level. Though I didn't realize it at the time, he also taught me the value of having balance in your career. I remember him talking lovingly about his children — remarking once about how great it was to have kids of a certain age, when they thought you were still cool. I've since left Washington, but I intend to go out with some of my journalist colleagues this week and have a couple beers. For them, I hope it will be a rare chance for us to talk about what makes this job so great without all the scary overtones about the state of the industry. For me, it will be a chance to remember a truly great person.

Laura Heinauer

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