Grandpa Wilder was Jeannette's mom's father. I've enjoyed meeting more of Jeannette's relatives this weekend. They are quite the group. MelodyJoy, of course, provided much of the entertainment for everyone but by no means was she the only source.
I only met Grandpa Wilder a few times, most memorably at our wedding rehearsal dinner, where he played his usual role of providing entertainment by quoting a couple of poems from memory. There's no doubt that he was one-of-a-kind. He was still repairing the roof of his house at age 80 and his family likes to tell Paul Bunyan-esque tales about him. Here is his obituary:
He was born Dec. 19, 1919 at Hammond, Indiana, the fifth child of the late Emory R. Wilder and Daisy (Hepworth) Wilder. In 1935, Emory and Daisy bought 160 acres southwest of Ladysmith, adjacent to Wilder Road. Larry helped his father clear and farm the land, as well as build a log house and barn.
He attended school through the 8th Grade, later continuing high school by a home study program. He obtained his journeyman certificate in carpentry and helped build many bridges in Wisconsin. He worked his whole life as both a farmer and a carpenter. He served as Chairman of Thornapple Township for several years. He was active in several churches over the years. He was superintendent of the Sunday School and Junior Church at The Bible Fellowship Church in Madison, Wisconsin, where he also sang in the choir and drove the church bus. Larry was the principal carpenter and builder of the Northland Bible Church on Hwy 8 in Ladysmith.
Larry inherited his mother's love for poetry and her excellent memory. He entertained family and friends for hours reciting poems and singing songs. He once said "I think it is my purpose in life to make others happy."
Larry married Lavon Brainerd of Bruce, Wisconsin, on August 31, 1940. He is preceded in death by his parents; two older sisters, Cora Rees and Beulah Wilder; one older brother, William; one younger sister, Marion Wilder; two younger brothers, Lyman and Lyle; and one granddaughter, Aleshia Rose Wilder. He is survived by his wife Lavon; daughters Beulah Wilder of Alberta, Canada; Joyce Wilder of Albany, Oregon; and Julie Newman of Clarksville, Arkansas; sons Stephen (Janet) of Tomah, Wisconsin; Stanley, Alvin and Kevin of Bruce, Wisconsin; and Curtis of Stoughton, Wisconsin. He is also survived by brothers Jesse of Camas, Washington, and Samuel of Ladysmith; and sisters Bethel O’Connor of Winter, Wisconsin; Louise Butler and Emily Strehmel of Sheldon, Wisconsin; Rosalea Teele of Glen Flora, Wisconsin; and Linda Wilder of Ladysmith. In addition, he is survived by 41 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson, and many nieces and nephews who loved him and enjoyed his poems, stories and great sense of humor.