In Memory of Edward S. Wilke

July 10, 1945 – January 10, 2017


Edward S. Wilke, 71, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

He was born at Fitsimmonzs Army hospital on July 10, 1945. Ed spent his early years helping on the family farm and at 17, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. During the Vietnam War he was a helicopter mechanic and also a gunner. There he earned a Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Bronze Medal, as well as many Air Medals.

When he left the service, Ed enrolled in Sparten School of Aviation. He later fell in love with a bank teller in Tulsa and they married and moved to Rolling Meadows Illinois where Ed began his career with United Airlines in 1970. In '02, Ed retired from United after holding various positions throughout the company in San Jose, San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles. During that time he became the Maintenance Manager and at one time was in charge of over 400 employees.

While in Torrence, Ed was involved with the Tri-Valley Touring Riders motorcycle club and taught Motorcycle Safety courses for the state of CA. Ed loved to travel and hiked Mt Whitney as well as making the rim-to-rim trek across the Grand Canyon. One of Ed's most memorable adventures was his motorcycle tour of Austrailia and Tasmania.

Ed eventually decided to settle in Tennessee in the Cherokee Lakes area, where he could fish and tour the East Coast on his motorcycle. Ed has many wonderful friends in Tennessee, Wisconsin and various other parts of the country.

He is survived by his two daughters, Dr Tammy K Wilke (Hanford, CA) and Christina K Wilke (Colorado Springs, CO); his granddaughter, Elizabeth Wilke (Tulsa, OK) and grandson, Kason True (Colorado Springs, CO); sister and brother in law, Phyllis & Martin Waltho (Appleton, WI); niece, Natalie Shillington (Appleton, WI) and nephew, Adam Waltho (Goodyear, AZ).

Ed was loved by all and will be sincerely missed.

A Brave Marine Sergeant

The Silver Star


Waukesha Marine Honored For Bravery in Vietnam

A 21 year old Marine sergeant from Waukesha who was shot away from his machine gun, but crawled back to fight, has been decorated for bravery.

Sergeant Edward S. Wilke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Wilke, 23908 W. Blue Mounds Road was awarded the Silver Star Medal by Major General Charles J. Quilter, Commanding General, Third Marine Aircraft Wing.

Wilke, a Corporal at the time, was assigned as a gunner aboard an evacuation helicopter last September. His helicopter was directed to pick up nine wounded South Vietnamese soldiers at four different landing zones. The first three pickups were routine, but at the fourth landing zone Vietcong guerillas fired at the helicopter.

"Corporal Wilke exercised remarkable restraint by holding his fire in order to eliminate the possibility of hitting friendly units," the citation said. As the aircraft landed, he was hit in the left knee by an automatic weapon round and knocked from his seat.

Squadron Patch

The veteran of 134 aerial missions crawled back to his machine gun and began firing. He estimates he poured more than 750 rounds of ammunition on the enemy that day.

Corporal Wilke refused medical aid for his own wound until all the wounded South Vietnamese soldiers were evacuated.

In addition to the Silver Star, Corporal Wilke earned six Air Medals and the Purple Heart.