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Donald Earl Wilder, Sr.


Donald E. Wilder, Sr., age 89, devoted husband, father and grandfather passed on Friday, July 24, 2020 surrounded by loving family at his home.

Donald was born in Nassauville, FL, and was the son of the late Joseph Earl and Doris Wilder, and was a lifelong resident of Fernandina Beach, Florida where he passed.

He spent his life in Fernandina Beach where he was a proud member and letterman of the Fighting Pirates high school football team and later had a successful career at Container Corporation of America where he served as a supervisor. He retired from the mill after 38 years of employment in 1987. Donald was a loyal Florida Gator Football fan and was a booster club member for many years. He attended every game whether it was home or away and would travel for bowl games. He enjoyed working outdoors with his hands and everyday could be found on the tractor, in the garden or splitting and stacking firewood.

Donald was a hardworking man and was proud of everything that he accomplished during his lifetime. Even though Donald�s family�s working legacy was centered on the Fernandina shrimping industry, he chose to make his own path in life which was a character trait that he always employed. After High School he joined the United State Air Force during the Korean War and quickly earned the position of Staff Sergeant. He was extremely proud of his military service where he worked as a mechanic on the B-36 Peacemaker Bombers, one of the largest airplanes ever built. He was asked to attend officer�s school, but his heart called him back home to Fernandina where he created a very loving and close-knit family.

Donald was the Epitome of the term �Family man�. Donald had the rare pleasure of being the patriarch of a family consisting of 11. Everything he did in life was geared around the cultivation of a loving and hardworking family. One of his biggest pleasures was being with his family each summer at Walt Disney�s Fort Wilderness Campground and Strickland�s Landing on Kingsley Lake. Donald supported his wife�s lifelong service in the Eastern Stars whole heartedly. He loved each of his total of eight sons and steps sons and would do anything for any of them. He adored his loving wife, Joann, and his daughter Donna more than life itself. Another one of his greatest pleasures was playing tricks on his family and friends. Donald had a very clever and whimsical sense of humor and he never missed an opportunity to make someone smile and laugh with a joke or a comical gesture.

He is preceded in death by his three sons Harold Wilder, James Wilder and Christopher Wilder, one stepson Glenn Huls, one grandson Glenn Huls Jr. and his only brother in law Frank Acosta.

He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 48 years JoAnn Peters Wilder; his only daughter Donna Wilder Hafner (Jonathan) of Jacksonville, Florida, his two sons Donald Wilder Jr (Sherry) of Fernandina Beach, Florida and Robert Wilder (Susan) of Palm Bay, Florida, his two step sons Dale Huls (Mary) of De Kalb, Texas and Michael Huls of Fernandina Beach, Florida; his only sister Norma Acosta of Fernandina Beach, Florida; 13 grandchildren, Allison and Owen Hafner of Jacksonville, Florida, Sandra (Rob) Healey of Fernandina Beach, Florida, Heather (Kasey) Thomas of Fernandina Beach, Florida, Robyn (Eric) Scott of Viera, Florida, Ryan Wilder of Gainesville, Florida, Jonathan (Genny) Tannehill of Houston, Texas, Caitlin Huls of Austin, Texas, James Huls of Fernandina Beach, Florida, Charles Huls of Fernandina Beach, Florida, Brain (Brandy) Huls of Kings Ferry (Hilliard), Florida, and William Huls of Fernandina Beach, Florida. He is also survived by nine great grandchildren and an extremely extensive extended family.

His family will receive friends on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home.

He will be laid to rest in a family graveside service in Bosque Bello Cemetery.


LOIS J. KLEIN July 24, 2020
My deepest sympathies to all the family at this difficult time.
May the Lord hold you close, and Comfort you in your sorrow

TONI (PANARO) CORBIN July 24, 2020
My prayers and sympathy out to the Wilder family.

NICOLE CONLEY July 25, 2020
So sorry for your loss; my thoughts and prayers are with this family
. I wish you healing and peace.

JON HAFNER July 26, 2020
I will miss my favorite father in law more than words can express. He his home now with all who have passed before him and for that we are grateful.

RON HAFNER July 26, 2020
May God bless you all with comfort and peace during this difficult time.

To a great guy and neighbor,we were good friends for many years and Donald and Joan. We�re great neighbors to Jean and I we thought both were great and we will miss Don.he was always a shining light and always had a smile.

He always was so nice to me anytime I saw him he reminded me of my father always busy doing something. Huge gator fan. Was a loving father and loving husband to Mrs.Joanne. He loved building a fire in his wood stove. He will be greatly missed. Fly high on Angel�s wings. He is walking the streets of gold now. Sending prayers to his whole family. May God shine upon you.

My thoughts and prayers go out to this family during this difficult time. May you find comfort in knowing he is no longer in pain. Cherish the beautiful memories you had with him and remember he�ll always be with you!

SUSAN WILDER July 27, 2020
I was blessed to have you for a father-in-law and to have known you for over thirty five years. I loved you like a daughter would�ve and proud to carry the Wilder name. Rest In Peace Dad. Thanks for the memories. With all my love to our family

MICHAEL J. GREEN July 27, 2020
Sending my deepest condolences and prayers to everyone in the Family and Friends at this most difficult time.

Sending our condolences to Donald�s entire family as well as extra love & support to Joanne, Donna, Jonathan, Allison, Owen and Michael. Steve and I have some wonderful memories of time spent with Donald� such a great guy� he will be deeply missed

Our heartfelt Thoughts and Prayers go out to Don Jr., Sherry, Valerie and the entire Wilder family.

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