Ben Wilder died yesterday in Florida, from complications of cancer.
Ben was well known to many in Westport, where he raised 4 boys. His home was a haven to many of his sons’ friends, where they were always welcomed with food (Ben was a superb cook), sage advice (Ben was a surrogate father to many), and no-questions asked, but firm, love.
Ben was an avid supporter of his sons Rob and Tom’s WSA and Staples soccer careers, and of Eddie’s Staples Players productions.
He was one of the real good guys. And Christmas Eve has not been the same in Westport, since Ben moved away.
His son Eddie sent along these memories:
My father was the man who raised 4 boys after my mom Joan passed when I was 13. He was the man who taught me everything about compassion, unconditional love, kindness, acceptance, generosity, how to drive stick shift, cook, clean, and what it means to be a decent human being.
He was a father to those who didn’t have one. His house was always open to all. He was the life of the party.
I talked to him every day, and he would answer the phone with a different name or accent.
He made me listen to the classics like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Henny Youngman, Mel Brooks, and he taught me what it meant to have a sense of humor. We could quote “Young Frankenstein” for hours.
He was the greatest supporter of the arts — the ultimate cast mom/dad. He never missed a show or Candlelight Concert. He always loved Staples Players.
He always said I was his best friend later in life. After raising 4 boys aptly named “Wilder,” may he truly rest in peace.