Howard D. Wilde Jr. of Sharon passed away at 3:30 a.m. Monday, July 7, 2014, in his residence after an extended illness. He was 92.
Mr. Wilde was born May 26, 1922, in Taunton, Mass., a son of Howard D. and Carrie A. Wilde.
He was educated in Taunton schools. His first school was a four-room school with eight grades and four teachers, two grades to a room. The school had no cafeteria or any other luxuries. Everybody walked to school.
Howard graduated from Taunton High School in 1940. While in high school, he started the first of 66 years of work. Howard worked for the Taunton Daily Gazette, earning 35 cents an hour. He carried newspapers from the press to the circulation department for 3è hours per weekday. On Saturdays, he worked for eight hours driving the newspaper delivery truck.
In 1941, he matriculated to Penn State University at State College. Pearl Harbor disrupted his studies as Penn State went from two semesters to three semesters a year. As he was working his way through college he had to drop out to earn more money. He returned to Taunton and got a laborer job building an Army camp. He tried to enlist in all services of the United States but was rejected because of poor eyesight. In late November 1942, he received a draft call to report for duty in Boston. Much to his surprise he was drafted as a limited services personnel.
Howard was sent to a basic training unit in the Boston area. This unit had a soldier going to master gunner school at Camp Davis, N.C., who had flunked out. Wilde had a high Army general classification and was sent as a replacement for master gunner school at Camp Davis. Howard graduated in the top five of his class and was discharged as an enlisted man and re-enlisted as a warrant officer junior grade. He was then assigned to the 501st AA Battalion 90 mm Gun Unit at what is now Otis Airfield Base on Cape Cod, Mass.; from there he was transferred to Pittsburgh, California, then Oahu and on to the invasion of Saipan, Marianas Island.
Howard was discharged as a chief warrant officer on June 30, 1946. His military decorations include Asiatic Pacific Services Medal/ Bronze Star, World War II Victory Medal and the American Service Medal.
In September 1946 he returned to PSU on the GI bill. On June 12, 1948, he married Virginia Livingston, daughter of Ralph B. and Pearl Livingston. Howard and Virginia graduated from PSU in 1949.
Howard was offered a graduate assistantship funded by U.S. Steel Corp. that lasted two years while he worked on his master’s degree.
In September 1951, Howard made a career change; Howard with Virginia returned to Sharon to become manager of Sharon Stationery.
Community activities became a part of Howard’s life. When it became known he was an Eagle Scout, he was recruited to head an explorer post, then head of a Cub Scout pack and then a troop committeeman.
Howard’s major contribution to the community was redevelopment. Howard was appointed to the Sharon Redevelopment Authority by Mayor Basil Scott and served 10 years, eight of them as chairman. The result of his activity was the South Plat Project that resulted in two elderly high rises, two market rental units and Section 8 housing projects for the City of Sharon. Included in this project were Bicentennial Park and the land for the new city hall which was built with federal funds. In the north plats area, a major emphasis was for the local campus of PSU. This local campus of PSU is now offering four-year degrees.
During 1985, Wilde was appointed to Mercer County Redevelopment Authority and then was elected vice chairman, a position he held until his death, which rebuilt the industrial area of Wheatland. This area was damaged by the tornado in 1985.
Other community activities include a member of Sharon Rotary for 56 years; Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 103, Sharon, for more than 50 years; Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 250/359, for more than 50 years; Scottish Rite’s New Castle Consistory; past president of Sharon University Club and Sharon Merchants Association; and a member of Penn State Advisory Board since 1965.
Mr. Wilde served as president of Sharon Stationary the majority of his years with the company. During that time, there was major flood at its Chestnut Avenue location. In 1959, Sharon Stationary moved to the Masonic building on Vine Avenue and a flood occurred also at this location.
Howard received the national NOSEA Award for the design of the executive suite for the Protective Life Building in Sharon. The store continued operation until 1996 when operations were then merged with Castle Stationary. Mr. Wilde continued to manage Sharon Stationary as part of Castle Stationary until Castle Stationary was bought by Hicks Office Products in 2002. Wilde continued working for Hicks Office Products until his retirement in 2004.
Howard participated in other activities as an avid golfer, camper and bowler.
He was a member of the Unitarian Universal Church of Youngstown and Taunton Ma.; American Legion Post 299, Sharon; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Hickory Post 6166, Hermitage.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Mary Ellen White; and a brother, Samuel M. Wilde. Howard’s first wife, the former Virginia Livingston, preceded him in death after 50 years of marriage on April 20, 1999.
He leaves his brother, Ralph C. Wilde; his second wife, Fay, whom he married in 2006; two children, David Wilde and his wife Lori and granddaughter Caroline; and Susan Trimble-Schubert and her husband Gerhard and children Will Trimble, Sara Deckard and Andrew Trimble; and a great-grandchild, Carson Trimble.
Also surviving are his five stepchildren, Richard C. Lentz Jr. and his wife Rosella; Donna Beery and her husband John; Thomas Lentz and his wife Kathy; William Lentz; and Mary Cunning and her husband Rick; and 14 stepgrandchildren and 19 stepgreat-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Howard D. Wilde’s name to Penn State Shenango Advisory Scholarship Fund.
Howard D. Jr., 92, Sharon.
Calling hours: Gathering time from noon to time of service Thursday (7-10-14) in HAROLD W. STEVENSON FUNERAL HOME, 264 E. State St., Sharon.
Service: Memorial service at 2 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home with the Rev. Matt Ashpaugh, pastor of Unitarian Universal Church of Youngstown, officiating.
Interment: Cremation services by the funeral home with burial of cremains in Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hermitage.