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Columbia City High School
Alumni Association

600 N. Whitley St.
Columbia City, Indiana 46725

(260) 244-6136, Ext. 3459


William Wilder, 1959
Vocational Agriculture

 

The Post & Mail, Columbia City, Indiana, Friday, May 21, 1999

Erne, Wilder retiring after total of 57 years in local schools banquet

by Robin R. Plasterer

Together Bill Wilder and Leta Erne have 57 years of teaching at Whitley County Consolidated Schools and in June both will retire.  They were honored at the annual Whitley County Teachers Association retirement banquet.

Wilder began teaching science and vocational agriculture at Union Township.  In 1958, he moved to Columbia City Joint High School where he continued teaching science, vocational agriculture and industrial technology.  At the end of this school year he will have a total of 42 years of service.

Erne began teaching for WCCS in 1984.  She has taught reading, math, sixth and four grades at Jefferson, Marshall and Mary Raber elementary schools.  She completes 15 years of service this year.

Bill Wilder

Dean Warren, agriculture teacher at CCHS, paid tribute to his co-worker and friend.

"Bill was born and raised on a farm near St. Joe in an area known as Coburn's Corner.  The farm was deeded to his great-great-grandfather.  He came from a line of educators, his parents and grandparents taught for a combined 111 years.  Bill's grandfather taught for 45 years and served as a teacher, principal and college professor.

Bill's brother, Bob, graduated from Indiana University with a degree in social studies and is a coordinator at DeKalb High School.  His sister, Mary, graduated from Purdue and served as a consumer educator for REMC and at the Extension office," said Warren.

Wilder is married to Evelyn and they have two children.

He was among 17 students graduating from Spencerville High School in 1952.  Wilder attended Purdue and graduated in 1957 with a degree in agriculture education.  He received his masters degrees in education from St. Francis in 1963 and met the requirements for a director of guidance.

"Upon looking for his first teaching job, two positions were open, one at Coesse and the other at Shipshewana.  Since Coesse was closer he signed a contract for $5,004 for 12 months on the hood of Glenn Burn's 1953 Chevy.  The next year he joined Leon Alter as the second teacher of agriculture at CCJHS.  This was the first two-man agriculture department in the state of Indiana and is still uncommon today.

"Bill served for 25 years as leader of the Indiana Junior Horticulture Association.  He's active in Indiana Agriculture Teachers Association having served as president from 1960-69," said Warren.

"I met Bill in the summer of 1970 when I was taking a graduate course at Purdue and he was there for a summer workshop.  We began working together on Aug. 4, 1970 and we've been together ever since.  I'm sure as he retires he'll enjoy remembering CCHS FFA trips to Louisville, Ky., New Paris, Mississippi and Canada.  I know I'll never forget following Bill, LaVerne Schrader and Junior Studebaker at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour," he said.

"We took several trips to the FFA Center in Canada and I'm sure he'll remember our first trip to Carpenter Lake, Sandy's Sunrise Shores, Rock Lake Cabin, Prairie Bee Lake and the Falls of Carpenter Lake.  I'm sure he'll fondly remember the sorghum crop the FFA planted and harvested it at 11 p.m. to get to the mill at Baker's Corner, only to arrive home around 5 a.m. and teaching at 8 a.m.

"I'm sure Bill can talk of all the changes he's seen in his tenure but I know it's been fun and interesting to work with him for the past 29 years and I wish him well," concluded Warren....

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2005 Columbia City High School Alumni Association.      This page last updated 08/06/2012