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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The first time I ever met John Wilke, I was a young WSJ reporter, making my first trip to the DC bureau. We shook hands, and he immediately asked me for my cell number so he could tell me later which local bar I should meet him and some others after work. Typical Wilke.

Several years later, I went to DC on a reporting trip, but didn’t stop by the bureau. I later received the following email from John:

“Hey dude. Did I just see you coming out of a massage parlor at 13th and M?”

Equally typical Wilke: whenever I had a front page leder, an early morning congratulatory email from John would generally be one of the first in my inbox.

A few years back I wrote him to offer congratulations on the indictment of a member of Congress he had exposed in a front page story a year earlier.

John wrote back:

“Thanks brother. I can't believe we get paid to have this much fun.”

He was a true champion. We will all miss him

Jesse Drucker

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