John H. Wilde

Commander John H. Wilde Jr., USN(Ret.), passed away on 20 August 2007 at Chesapeake General Hospital. He was 76 years old. His cause of death was mesothelioma, which is a cancer acquired from certain asbestos used as piping insulation in the engine rooms of  ships. His exposure occurred when he was damage control assistant of the destroyer STRONG (DD-758) while undergoing shipyard overhaul.


John was born in Minneapolis/St. Paul on 29 December 1930, the only son of John and Dorothy Wilde. He later became the stepson of Rear Admiral John Morrill ’24, a decorated World War II officer. After enlisting in the Navy, John achieved the grade of hospital corpsman third class, attended the Naval Academy Prep School, and entered the Naval Academy with the Class of 1956 in the Ninth Company. The naval career enjoyed by John included service for many years at sea in a number of surface ships, including a tour as executive officer of a destroyer escort homeported  in Guam. In addition, he served in BuPers in Washington, DC. He also had an unusual assignment with the Navy’s office in New York which provided interface with the motion picture industry. His final six years were with NATO, three of which were in London and three in Norfolk.


After retiring in 1982, John and the family moved to Maryland, where he was employed by Westinghouse as a logistics project manager. They subsequently relocated to Chesapeake, VA, where he was logistics manager for the AN/SQQ-89 program until he retired again in 1996. John then entered into a full volunteer commitment, primarily with the Chesapeake Humane Society. He served as a volunteer at the Chesapeake Animal Shelter, had been on the Chesapeake Animal Control Board for over six years, and was treasurer of the Chesapeake Humane Society for more than seven years. These many years of productive and active volunteer service have been widely recognized by the Humane Society, including the creation of a new spay and neuter clinic in his memory.


John is survived by his USNA drag and subsequent wife of 51 years, Brenda, who continues to reside in Chesapeake, VA; sons, John III and his wife, Bonnie of Sanford, NC, Mark and his wife, Maria of Chesapeake, VA, and William and his wife, Leslie of Chesapeake, VA; daughter, Susan and her husband, Tony Kowalski of Tampa, FL; and six grandchildren, John IV, Samantha, Taylor,  Grace, TJ and Katherine.