E. Andrew Wilde, Jr. of Needham, MA passed away on Aug 11, 2018. He was born in Glen Rock, NJ on March 6, 1928, the son of Edward A. Wilde and Ruth Fortin Wilde. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College and an MA from Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. In 1978 he retired from Raytheon Corporation where he had worked as a Marketing Analyst, after which he devoted his life to his true passion, researching destroyers sunk during World War II. He was predeceased by his sister, Marnie Wilde Henderson of Needham, MA and is survived by her two daughters, Trish Sauer of Chelsea, MA and Anne Henderson of Hopkinton, MA.
He was a retired Commander of the U.S. Navy who served during the Korean conflict, coming under fire by North Korean shore batteries. He was a resident of Sunrise Senior Living in Weston, MA. As he approached his 90th birthday he spoke more and more often of his Legacy: his substantial monographs about the 32 ships that he researched. These ‘’booklets’’ were not sold commercially but were self-published and distributed to individuals and to libraries. Each booklet contains a map showing the exact location of the sinking, photos of the ship, action report, officers reports, a muster list, and a list of the wounded and casualties. Many have first-hand accounts by survivors. These booklets are now available at the NY Public Library and online at http://destroyerhistory.org/destroyers/index.asp?r=6000&pid=6200
Andy paid personal visits to some of the families of servicemen who died at sea, notably to widows, siblings, and children, to whom he brought detailed information about the last days and, often, the last hours of the lives of their loved one.
One of his prime motivations for making those many trips to the Naval Archives in Washington D.C. to do his research with pencil and paper which he brought with him, was that he ‘’felt it wasn’t right’’ that all that was known to many families was that their husbands and their fathers died when their ship sank in some ocean or in some campaign they knew nothing about. Andy had a strong desire to honor those men and insure that their names were not lost to history. His contacts with survivors and the families of men ‘’who went down with their ships’’ has brought information and solace to loved ones of ‘’those who were lost’’.
His heart-warming stories include bringing details of a sailor’s death to his sister. She said, in thanking him, that over the many years since the war she had been holding out the hope that her brother would come through the door one day, finding that the street they lived on had been renamed in his honor. After meeting with Commander Wilde, she said “Now I can let him go.”
Another story is of a woman who was a small child who had known only that “My father died in the war.” Andy shared detailed information about her father -- who was an unknown hero, remaining on board as his ship was sinking. Until his last moments he did all that he could to save others by getting them to safety as he chose to be the last one to try to escape.
Services will be private