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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Wings of Glory

In the spring of 1979, while I was in college, I broke my ankle playing softball and ended up spending the summer at my mother's house. I was sitting outside on the front step one day, with my leg in a cast, and along comes John, just walking down Lake Street. We talked for about 15 minutes. I think we were both in college and home for the summer. Then he walked on. Never saw him again after that. But that conversation is how I will always remember John.

Some years later, I was at the San Francisco Chronicle writing about Silicon Valley. On the wire services one day I saw John's byline from the Boston Globe, covering essentially the same beat I was. I found that pretty amusing. Eventually he went to the Wall Street Journal, which I thought was very cool and I used to read his stuff. He was an outstanding reporter. I always thought it was very cool that we were on sorta parallel paths. I got tired of the newspaper thing and got out. John went on to basically own it.

During my reporting days, now and then I would have contact with some technology type person from Boston or Washington and would ask about Wilke. Everyone knew John and I would always tell them some John story from the high school days and send warm regards.

My partner in tech coverage at the Chron - Don Clark - went to the WSJ several years ago, and I told him to pass my regards to John. I don't remember how I heard that John had cancer. I had a chance to talk with Don last month and asked about John. He told me the bad news that John was near death. Two days later, he posted a message that John had died.

Although I haven't spoken with John since that day in front of my mother's house in White Plains, I was deeply saddened by this. Still am. It's been interesting reading all the tributes and accolades to John in the WSJ and NY Times. I was never in that part of his life. But I'm grateful that I got to know John in my high school days, as a kind and gentle soul who always made me smile, as that geeky hippie who would complain that the greasers beat him up "after I threw rocks at them," as just a good guy I was lucky enough to know.

Shortly after John's death I asked Jane for David's email address and sent my condolences and wishes for his and Bailey's well being. It bounced back - wrong address. Nonetheless, David, I'm thinking of you and wishing you well and wishing you peace.

Wordsworth wrote: "Trailing wings of glory we come from God who is our home."

Wings of glory, John, wings of glory.

Ken Siegmann

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