Gene “Geno” Reese Wilder
February 20, 1954 – February 24, 2022
Gene “Geno” Wilder, age 68, passed away at his home on February 24. He is now pain free and has gone to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He was born February 20, 1954, in Grand Junction to Reese and Norma (Condotti) Wilder. Gene was a graduate of Grand Junction High School in 1972 where he was a three-sport athlete excelling in football, wrestling, and baseball. After high school he eventually landed at the University of Northern Colorado where he wrestled for the Bears while earning a degree in biology and kinesiology. Following graduation, he returned to the Grand Valley where he married his high school sweetheart, Susan Baker-Wilder.
Gene’s 30-year teaching career started at West Junior High as a Physical Education Teacher and served as a member of the Grand Junction Tigers wrestling coaching staff under Claude Gonzales. Gene was named head wrestling coach at Palisade High School from 1982-1988. In 1983, his longtime assistant coach and friend, Bud Glover, joined Gene in maintaining that strong wrestling tradition in the Grand Valley. They went on to coach together for 25 years. In 1994 he and his coaching staff led the GJHS Tigers to the 5A Colorado State Wrestling Championship team title, which included four individual state champions. He coached multiple individual state champions during his 20-year tenure at GJHS. After his teaching and coaching career, Gene went on to work for Suncor Energy for 12 years.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, Lake Powell with his kids, softball, cooking, helping his mom make salsa every fall and working on his ’69 Nova.
He will long be remembered by many he coached and taught while in School District 51, those he played softball with and against, and those he went hunting and fishing with. He impacted so many and that impact will radiate for years to come.
He is survived by his loving wife, Carol, and children, Morgen (Denver); Logan (Denver), and Payton (Greeley); extended family, The Elliott’s – Lena and Carter, John, Kathy, Sharon (Harold), Ron, David, Tish, Sandra, Robert (Laurie), Steve (Sarah), Julie; The Early’s – Paul (Jan), Larry (Teri), Mike (Kelli) and Sharon (Carl).
He was preceded in death by parents, Reese and Norma, and his first wife Susan. Gene was a great caretaker to those who passed before him, he is now being taken care of by Our Lord.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Gene may be made in his name to any area wrestling program.
In honoring Gene’s wishes no funeral services will be held. A private celebration will be held at a later date. In honor of Gene and his memory, next time you are out with friends and family, raise your glass and salute Gene.
He will be deeply missed by his loving and devoted wife and his black labs, Farley, Lady and Rockne.
God looked around His garden and found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth and saw your tired face. He knew that you were suffering. He knew that you were in pain. He knew that you would never get well on earth again. He saw the road getting rough and the hills were hard to climb. So He closed your weary eyelids and whispered ‘peace in thine.’ He put His arms around you and He lifted you to rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, He only takes the best. If tears could build a stairway, and heartaches could make a lane, I’d walk a path to Heaven and bring you home again.
Published by The Daily Sentinel on Mar. 6, 2022.