Kenneth Ray Wildman, 80, of Swanton, MD and The Villages, FL went to be with his Lord and Savior on December 13, 2021 following a mercifully brief fight with recently diagnosed cancer.
Born on November 9, 1941 in Cross, WV, “Kenny” was the youngest son of the late Kermit Wildman and Bernice (Bean) Wildman. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mary Catherine “Cathy” Wildman and his brother Robert Wildman.
He is survived by his daughters Susan Piavis (husband Paul), Denton, MD and Laurie Turner (partner Bryan Amtower), Avilton, MD. Kenny was the proud and doting grandfather of five grandsons: Nickolas Turner, Frostburg, MD and Samuel Turner, Avilton, MD and McCabe Piavis, Henry Piavis and Owen Piavis, Denton, MD. He also leaves behind his brother and dear friend, Kermit “Wayne” Wildman, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Kenny worked at the Westvaco Pulp and Paper Company and retired from the mill after 44 years of hard work. He started at Westvaco at 18 years of age as a broke hustler and learned almost every trade possible, finally serving as Superintendent of Maintenance over the paper machines. He loved to work and was respected by many for his work ethic and tenacity. He went to work early and stayed until the job was done, which sometimes meant 24 hour shifts. The mill wasn’t his first or last job. He began delivering newspapers in the town of Luke as soon as he could ride a bike. He swept classrooms at the elementary school in town after school and was paid a nickel a day by the janitor. He bought land on Backbone Mountain and became a gentleman farmer as a teen and continued to raise Black Angus cattle and make hay on the farm until his passing. During his winters in Florida, he volunteered as a builder with Habitat for Humanity. He was a man of God and was a member of Walnut Bottom Assembly of God, Swanton, MD. He was also a member of Fairway Christian Church, The Villages, FL which he attended during the winter months.
Kenny was a genuine family man. He raised his girls on the farm on Backbone Mountain and taught them the value of work and how to balance work with having a good time with family and friends. The Wildman’s hosted many a friend at their cabin at the lake, and Kenny was always the boat driver teaching everyone to waterski. He and Cathy did everything together. Both Kenny and his wife loved to garden; Cathy with flowers and Kenny with vegetables. Kenny was happiest on the farm but Cathy “made” Kenny into a traveler, and he learned to enjoy it. In addition to his core group of friends on the mountain and at the mill, he met and made friends all over the world. The Wildmans purchased a house in Florida after Garrett County winters started getting old. Kenny had a large group of friends in Florida with whom he loved to golf and just sit around and tell stories. He introduced all of his grandsons to golf and shared his passion for staying busy fixing things. He loved attending his grandsons’ sporting events and school activities and working alongside the boys teaching them things about the farm and how to be a man. He was blessed with many things, but considered his family and friends to be his biggest treasure.
Friends will be received at the Boal Funeral Home, Westernport, MD on Sunday, December 19, 2021 from 4-6pm. A memorial service will be conducted by Reverend George Tichnell at the funeral home at 6pm.
A separate memorial service is being planned to be held in Florida in January or February.
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