December 5 2016

Obituary: Beloved Family Man, Educator and Community Member Al Wilde

The following is an obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home


Al Wilde was a kind and humble man who bore so many titles including athlete, coach, teacher, counselor, friend, and family man. But those titles do not adequately or eloquently manage to describe the genuine love and compassion he exuded.

Al was born in Boston, the son of Albert and Margaret (Noonan) Wilde. His early years were spent in Charlestown where he was an altar boy at St. Francis de Sales Church. Al took a winding path through school. He dropped out of high school, worked for a time, then returned to finish school. His family moved to Burlington in 1951 and Al started his sophomore year at Burlington High School. He earned 3 varsity letters in football and 1 each in baseball and basketball. He was a Lowell Sun Suburban All-Star his junior and senior years and earned Boston Globe and Herald Second Team honors. Over 50 years later, he was inducted into the Burlington High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Burlington High School in 1954, he went to work in the construction field. After 3 years of hard labor, he was inspired by a former teacher and coach to pursue college and enrolled in Ithaca College in New York. He went on to earn both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Ithaca. He was a proud member of the Phi Epsilon Kappa fraternity. While a student and athlete, Al was also a volunteer fireman, lived at the firehouse, and also worked other jobs for his board. He was a member of Ithaca’s football, wrestling, and track and field teams. His drive and talent in football did not go unnoticed. He was drafted by the Canadian Football League, which he modestly declined. Al knew his life was to be about helping others, especially young people.

Al became a teacher and started his career at the elementary level in Burlington. He then went and taught and coached football at South Portland High School in Maine. After three years, he moved to the Stoneham School System, also as a teacher and coach. Ultimately he rejoined the faculty in Burlington and remained there until his retirement. He felt a calling to move into guidance counseling and returned once again to school to earn his M.Ed with a concentration in guidance from Salem State College. As a guidance counselor and coach, he empathized with the students’ many challenges in class, at home, and on the field. His intensity and size was in contrast to his caring and encouraging nature. He was a great listener and motivator as well as a guardian to his students. It did not make a difference if a student was a star pupil or someone struggling to pass, he was always there in their corner helping them overcome their obstacles and reach their full potential. He simply wanted to see his students graduate from high school, find the right college if that was their desire, or chose an occupation they enjoyed. His biggest contribution to them was instilling confidence to achieve their goals through hard work and determination. It was his kind mentoring and exhortation that helped young men and women succeed and later become responsible adults.

After over 30 years with the Burlington School Department he retired knowing that his life’s work made a difference. In addition to his career in education Al held numerous other jobs. He coached track, football, and basketball at the high school. He worked as a carpenter in the summers and maintenance man at the Burlington Housing Authority after school. He worked for many years as a drug and alcohol counselor for the C.A.S.E. Program and Bay Colony Health Services in Woburn, helping those struggling to get back on the right track in life.

Al was a devoted husband, father, brother, son, friend and grandfather. He married the love of his life, Mary, a Burlington girl in 1966 and they settled in nearby Woburn. Al and Mary were both educators, shared the same values, and had outgoing and gregarious dispositions. They opened their home to many over the years. Their family was completed when they brought home twin girls, Megan and Michaela. He and Mary made a warm and nurturing home in Woburn as well as at Little Sebago Lake in Gray Maine. He and his girls loved animals and at one time their suburban home was like a small farm with 3 dogs, 2 cats, a rabbit and horse, much to Mary’s chagrin. He encouraged his girls to travel and to seek out new experiences, and while family trips seemed invariably to center around football, he made sure to include cultural exploration as well. This included the ballet, art museums, and historical sites. He was an incredibly multi-dimensional man. When his in-laws and then daughter moved to Alaska, he embraced their Alaskan way of life and frequently visited.

Al was ecstatic when he became a grandfather. He cherished the time spent with Finnegan and his namesake Albert. Their company always was the highlight of his day. Al was also a great friend to many. He always made time, no matter what he was doing, for people. He was always there. He was a trusted confidante about the “hard stuff” of life. He could talk about history, any type of sports, and had a memory like no other. He was always interested in what was happening in your life or family as well. He never met a stranger, and if meeting someone new, he broke into a series of questions usually starting with “Where’d you grow up?” and “Where did you go to school?” He disarmed and managed to connect with people in virtually every setting from the garbage collectors he gave a cold drink to the doctor’s office. Al leaves a legacy of love, humor, encouragement, faith and compassion which he freely shared with all those he met during his 82 years. He will be remembered by the multitudes of people whose lives he touched.

Al was the devoted husband of Mary (Lynch) Wilde. He was the loving father of Megan Wilde & her husband Robert Hoxie of Lowell, and Michaela Wilde of Fairbanks, Alaska. He was the proud grandfather of Finnegan Wilde McLain and Albert Wilde McLain. He was the dear brother of Judith Bowles & her husband James of Dunbarton, NH, the late Neal and Richard Wilde and brother-in-law of Thomas & Ruth Lynch, Suzanne & Joseph Sousa, Ann “Lorry” & Floyd Brooks, Jerome & Gayle Lynch, Beth Lynch & David Lennihan. Al is also survived by many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Wednesday Dec. 7 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Al’s name may be made to Burlington Community Scholarship Foundation, 23 Center Street, Burlington, MA 01803.


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