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."

Post comments or photos here.


Working with Wilke

Wilke was, of course, a great journalist. And he was a kind of glue that held the bureau together. Smiling, thoughtful, welcoming of newcomers, happy to have a bunch of beers in a bureau that can be very serious.

But I was struck recently by how he handled his disease. He came to work when he could, fat file folders under his arms. He worked the phones, barricaded by stacks of paper that surrounded him like mountains. He was ready to talk about a story, but he had practiced responses to questions about his disease. Polite, but no real info. He was alive and working, which I think were synonymous to him.

I admired that, though I tried to wheedle information out of him, of course. Reporter to reporter. Friend to friend.

What I mostly admired – was floored by, really – was when he turned out to celebrate at his pal Gruley’s book party. It was obviously tough for him to make it. He tired. He sat more than he stood. He didn’t – couldn’t I’m sure – have a beer. But he was there for a friend he loved, whatever the personal cost. He was alive, and everyone there was made more alive by his presence.

Bob Davis

No comments:

Post a Comment