Corporal Joseph Richard "Joe" Wilder, age 54, of Portage, Michigan, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, November 20, 2022.
Joe was born to Bernard Joseph and Mary Ada (Johnson) Wilder on August 6, 1968 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a child, Joe moved with his family from Parchment to Portage, where he grew up and graduated in 1987 from Loy Norrix High School. Joe received his Associates Degree in Applied Science - Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He began his career as a police officer with the South Haven Police Department, then served in Dowagiac, before joining the Battle Creek Police Department (BCPD). He retired from the BCPD in October of 2021, after 25 years of service. With the BCPD, Joe served as a patrol officer, a training officer, and a Corporal. He served as the Commander of the Bomb Squad and the Downtown Liaison Officer for BCPD. Following retirement from BCPD, Joe was deputized with the Kalamazoo Sheriff Department, and worked as a Kalamazoo Valley Community College Public Safety Officer.
Joseph Richard Wilder was united in marriage to Jennifer Anne Rocco on July 7, 2012 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Battle Creek. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer of Portage; son, Alex Joseph (Molly Keegan) Wilder of Kalamazoo; daughter, Mara Elise Wilder of Kalamazoo; his foster son whom he was in the process of adopting; two sisters, Sarah (Peter) Lovell of Mattawan and Elizabeth (David) Wright of Portage; stepfather, Tom (Pam Moore) Dormady of Richland; and several cousins, nieces, nephews, and their families. Joe was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Christine Hemingway.
Joe was an artist who loved painting with acrylics and photography. As a young man, Joe played football and ran hurdles. As an adult, Joe enjoyed fishing, flying his drone, and playing recreational hockey. Joe loved following his son's hockey, supporting and encouraging his every move. Joe loved spending time with and caring for his dogs, Zazu and Charlie, and his numerous African Cichlids. He was an avid University of Michigan Football fan and had a love-hate relationship with the Detroit Lions. When it came to his yard and home, Joe kept an immaculate lawn and always tended to his flowers and shrubs. Joe was also an avid fan of holiday decorations and was always ready for a little friendly neighborhood competition. Joe enjoyed learning new things and was knowledgeable about a wide range of topics. This knowledge, along with his easy-going personality, made Joe easy to talk to and an instant friend to many. He wore his heart on his sleeve and would always "overfill his bucket" in order to help others. Joe was authentically and wholeheartedly there for those in his life. He was an amazing and beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, and colleague. Joe will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, and his willingness to always help anyone- his family, friends, and even strangers.
Friends will be received 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Monday, November 28, 2022 at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home and Cremation Care, where the Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Battle Creek. The Mass will be Live-Streamed and may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/stjosephbc/videos/676120900649326.
Personal messages for the family may be placed in the memory book above here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.