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."
one of the best compliments i ever received in journalism was from wilke. i had just started at the journal. it was sometime in 1996. i was a rookie and he was a rockstar. i traveled to washington to meet some sources and john gathered a bunch of people for drinks. he asked me to tag along. we were at the bar at some hotel (i cant remember which) i wasnt really fitting in. john at one point leaned over and said "i'm a fan."
i'll never forget that moment. he was one of the best and it went beyond his skills as a journalist.