Jane Mona Wilder, 93, passed into the spiritual realm on April 24, 2018 at her home in East Flat Rock NC under hospice care and surrounded by family members.
She was born on March 2, 1925 in Chicago to Clarence and Sena (Hansen) Neeld. Jane grew up in Glen Ellyn IL; she graduated from Glenbard West High School after having been recruited in her senior year to work for the Office of Price Administration, a federal agency responsible for establishing price controls and rationing consumer goods during World War II. In 1945 Jane joined the Women’s Army Corps, where she helped to rehabilitate wounded soldiers returning from the war. On August 7 of that year she married her high school sweetheart Louis Wilder; they were married for 55 years.
In Glen Ellyn, Jane raised their four children while working for Leo Burnett Advertising Agency, Manpower, and as a legal secretary for Attorneys Carl Kuhn and John Vogel. In 1983 she and Louis moved to Elgin IL, where they owned the Beltone Hearing Aid Dealership. They retired in 1996 and lived first in Winchester WI and later in Sun City West AZ. After Louis’ death in 2001, Jane moved to East Flat Rock NC.
Jane was a lifelong learner and passionately committed to continuing education, from taking evening courses as a young woman at Northwestern University to attending classes at Blue Ridge Community College when she was in her 90s. In North Carolina she helped publish the local AARP newsletter, was a member of the Hendersonville NAACP and the United Religions Initiative, and volunteered for Four Seasons Hospice, the same organization that cared for her in the final two months of her life.
Jane joined the Bahá’í Faith in 1970 and served the Bahá’í community wherever she lived. For many years she was a guide at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette IL. She also served on various committees, as a member and frequently secretary of Local Spiritual Assemblies, and as a tutor for study circles. She hosted her final devotional gathering at her home six days before her death.
Along with all of her community service, Jane loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, traveling with family and friends and taking trips with Elderhostel, gardening, and doing puzzles, quilting and other types of needlework. Jane was particularly happy when she was out in nature; she spent many hours at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois and walked part of the Appalachian Trail when she was in her 80s. She had a passionate love for history and reading, and was an active participant in many book discussion groups. She was also the family genealogist and has passed her research and interest in family history along to one of her granddaughters.
Jane had a way of making people feel special and loved, of being fully present with them; her qualities of humility, faithfulness, compassion, and trustworthiness were apparent in all of her relationships and activities. She was unfailingly optimistic and felt grateful to be alive during this time of cultural transition. She believed that everything that happens is part of God’s plan for the spiritual evolution of humanity.
Jane was preceded in death by her spouse Louis and her parents, Sena and Clarence Neeld. She is survived by her daughters Phyllis (Gene) Unterschuetz of Stone Mountain GA and Jean (Steve) Smith of East Flat Rock; her sons Ralph Wilder of Burnside NC and Rob (Dena) Wilder of Portland OR; her grandchildren Karla Unterschuetz-Sandine, Heidi (Bill) Wood, Erik (Emily) Wilder, Tara Smith, Tyler Smith, Andre Wilder, and Sienna Wilder; her great-grandchildren Bria, Ian, and Maya Sandine, Aria Wood, Aden and Zia Wilder; her great-great-granddaughter Hailey Kennard; and many beloved friends and relatives around the country.
Jane’s body was buried on Sunday, April 29 at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, with a private family graveside service. Because there is no clergy in the Bahá’í faith, the service was conducted by family members and was accompanied by the beautiful Native American flute music of Michelle Skeele. Jane was delighted to learn that her body would have a Green Burial in a nature conservation site cemetery.
Please return later to this page for details about a memorial service to be held in the Hendersonville NC area in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to:
National Bahá’í Fund in memory of Jane Wilder (only Bahá’ís may contribute to this fund)
Four Seasons Hospice Care https://www.fourseasonscfl.org/
Carolina Memorial Sanctuary https://carolinamemorialsanctuary.org/
Center for End of Life Transition https://ceolt.org/support/
The family wishes to thank Four Seasons Hospice Care, the End-of-Life Midwives from the Center for End of Life Transition, Asheville Area Alternative Funeral Services, and Carolina Memorial Sanctuary for their loving care and support for Jane and her family.
For the “Service Details” tab:
Please watch this page for an announcement about Jane’s memorial service / celebration of life to be scheduled for this summer in the Hendersonville area.