Jay Joseph Wildt, 89, of Charleston, WV passed away June 15, 2021.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jay Joseph Wildt, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
He was born and raised in Parkersburg, WV and a 1951 graduate of Parkersburg High School.
He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph Gaston Wildt and Helen Bernier Wildt, his brother James Wildt, and sister Mimi Pitts.
Jay joined the United States Marine Corps in 1952 during the Korean War and was a member of the guard and security Marine Detachment aboard the heavy assault cruiser USS Albany until honorably discharged in 1955. The USS Albany was the flagship for the Commander of the Battleship Cruiser Force of the Atlantic Fleet.
Shortly after his discharge he was employed by the Parkersburg News, a daily morning newspaper, as a general assignment reporter and sometimes photographer. He was later hired in the same capacity by the Charleston Daily Mail, about 1957. His reportorial career continued with WSAZ-TV and WCHS-TV. He was a news reporter and photographer and was what is now termed a “news anchor” for both at different periods.
In 1961, Jay was hired as press secretary for the West Virginia Department of Public Assistance, later called the Department of Welfare and Department of Human Services. As a result of his varied responsibilities in the news industry, he developed a special skill in photography and designed, set up and operated a full production black and white photo laboratory with added capabilities for color transparency processing and mounting.
After twenty-five years, in 1986, he transferred to the West Virginia Department of Commerce as staff photographer and was responsible for handling the photographic needs of the Governor’s office. He was appointed a Distinguished West Virginian by Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. on Dec. 31, 1988, at the time of his retirement.
After three years of retirement Jay decided to buy a Harley Davidson and returned to the workforce. He was fortunate to find employment with Retina Consultants where he could apply his skills as an ophthalmic photographer.
Jay was a member of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and attended regularly until he was physically unable.
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 45 years Karen Wildt; brother Dick (JoAnn) Wildt; sister-in-law Sheri Dennis; sons Jay (JoAnne) Wildt, Joseph (Glenna Dean) Wildt; daughters Debbie (Harry) Harper, and Teri Wildt. He is also survived by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends. A special thank-you to Greg and Cathy Widdecombe for their love and support. Also, thank you to all the neighbors on McGovran Road who waved to Jay. You brought him such joy.
Services will be at 1:00, Saturday at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston, Father Donald Higgs, officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Entombment with Military Honors will take place afterwards at Elk Hills Memorial Mausoleum, Big Chimney.
Online condolences may be sent to www.haferfuneralhome.net
Arrangements are in the care of Hafer Funeral Home, 50 North Pinch Road, Elkview, WV 25071.
As Jay would say, “Over and out.”