Charles F. Wilder, 76, of Keene, died Wednesday afternoon, June 21, 2017, in the comfort of his own home, with the love of his family around him, after a period of declining health.
He was born, in Keene, on August 31, 1940, the son of Grant Elmer and Dora Pearl (Swett) Wilder, and later, after her passing, his father married Mildred B. (Moody) Wilder. He lived in Sullivan and moved to Keene as a child to the family Dairy Farm, Dun Rovin, which was purchased by his grandfather. He attended local schools, graduating with the Class of 1958 from Keene High School. He was in the United States Marine Corps Reserves while attending Keene Teachers College. Even before graduating, he was scouted out to become the first Industrial Arts teacher for the newly formed Monadnock Regional High School. He graduated with the Class of 1962 and started teaching that fall.
He taught at MRHS for four years before taking a job with the A.E. Martell Company as a route sales person based in Middletown, New York. However the call of life back on the farm and in Keene beckoned him home and he returned to Keene in 1969, living on the family farm for the remainder of his life. It was at that time he started teaching at Keene Junior High / Keene Middle School. Here, he continued to inspire and educate for more than 30 years before his retirement in 2000.
In 1957 his world changed for the better when one day at school he was spotted by Elizabeth L. “Betsy” Hudson. It was that day that she saw him and decided on the spot that he was going to be hers. On July 20, 1963, they were married and have spent 60 years of their lives together, in a never wavering love. A true love story, at first sight. Together they built a home and a family.
Ten years ago, Betsy was able to convince him to start spending winters in Boynton Beach, Florida, at the Colonial Estates. It is not surprising that he jumped at the chance to have another project, to make new and wonderful friends and spend more time with his love. Of course, their home had to have a guest room for their family to be able to come and visit during the cold northern winter months.
He was a tireless, hard working man, to whom repair and fixing things came easily. Traits instilled in him by his father and grandfathers: Charles Grant Wilder and Perley Swett. If you needed it, you worked for it, if it broke, you fixed it. He could do nearly any repair and build almost anything he put his mind to.
He was a past member of the International Management Council ( IMC), a Sr. DeMolay and Past Master Councilor of both the Keene Chapter as well as a Past NH State Master Councilor, a member of the Keene Masons, Jerusalem Lodge #104, and Lifetime Member of the Keene ELKS # 927.
Plain and simple, family was everything to him. His wife and boys were the most important aspect of his life. His extended family, of which there were seemingly hundreds, all knew how much he cared for them and where they stood. If he was not working on something around the Wilder Farm, or with one of his boys, he was helping a friend, neighbor or soon to be friend.
He is survived by his wife, the love of his life and partner for over 60 years, Elizabeth L. Wilder, of Keene; his two sons: Charles G. Wilder and his wife Faith and Christopher M. Wilder and his significant other, Rebecca E. Pratt, all of Keene; his grandchildren: Kaiya Rei Ball of Keene, Ryan Kristofer Wilder of S. Yarmouth, MA, Olivia Violet Annabelle Pratt of Keene and Nicholas Alexander Wilder of Keene and Seattle, WA; one great grandchild: Brooke Taylor LaPoint of Keene; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased, as a child, by his mother, Dora, who died when Charlie was barely 1, and his brother: Gerald who passed when Charlie was not even 3 years old, as well as his father and step mother.
A time of visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon with a Memorial Service to follow at 12 noon, at the Monadnock Covenant Church, 90 Base Hill Road, Keene, NH. Burial will be held privately at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made, in Charles F. Wilder’s name, to the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org , P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.