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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An Uncharacteristic Early Departure

Wilke wasn’t one to leave things undone.

His friends referred to Wilke time [as in: “I’m heading to the elevator, be there in 10 mins,” which meant 30 to 45 minutes].

At the Big Hunt, or Mackey’s, or Fourth Estate, or Morton’s [or any number of places] he wasn’t likely to be the first to leave, even if he was on his cell phone talking with sources.

When he was delving into a big story, no amount of haranguing from an editor would force Wilke to give up his copy until he knew it was ready.

About the only time he would decline a beer was when he made plans to watch a big Sox game at home with Nancy.

Yet here we are talking about him and all that he did as a friend and colleague.

Clearly, his work here wasn’t complete.

Last fall, he picked up a copy of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, by Bruce Barcott, which centers around the fight to save the habitat of the Scarlet Macaw in Belize.

Wilke had a keen interest because a college friend, Sharon Matola, was involved on the conservation side of the fight. I grew up in Belize and Wilke talked incessantly about taking a trip to see where I came from. He was fascinated by the history, and kept peppering me with questions in the way Wilke always did as he gathered information for his many scoops.

We were making plans, hoping that his fight against cancer would stabilize enough to allow him and Nancy and other friends to take the trip with us in May or June.

Unfortunately, he left us before he could fly down to see the macaws.

Evan Pérez

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