Duane Wilder, 62, passed away on August 13th while resting in his home in Williamsburg, VA. Born in Alpena, MI, he was the oldest son of Shirley (Keetch) and the late Arthur Wilder, and the brother of Darwin and Dennis Wilder. He is survived by his wife, Jackie (Morris) and their 3 children: Samantha Wilder, Cody Wilder, and Nicole Maaguo, along with her husband and their 3 children, Nadia, Olivia and Greyson, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was the first person in his family to graduate college, completing his degree at Briar Cliff College.
Duane was a respected businessman who started his career as a young co-owner of Alpena Ford Tractor, before marrying and moving to Iowa to launch a career with J.I. Case Corporation in their Manager Training program. Duane’s work ethic, business sense and friendly nature led to the first of many promotions in his career when he became Retail Operations Manager, North America for J.I. Case in Racine, WI. He would continue to rise and lead multiple agricultural and heavy equipment companies to significant growth, including his 11-year term as President of Liebherr Construction Equipment Co.
Duane took great pride in his ability to provide jobs and would surprise employees with handwritten cards after an illness or birthday. His approachable nature earned him many friends and respect within the industry, serving roles as Board Member and Treasurer for AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers), Board Member and Vice Chair for CE Sector, Board Member for AED Foundation (Association of Equipment Distributors), Member of AED Industry Roundtable, Life Member of and past State and National Judge for Future Farmers of America, President of Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair Industrial Development Commission in Ida Grove, IA.
Always a proud father, Duane recently gathered with his family and grandchildren to celebrate his youngest daughter’s law school graduation in May. Arrangements are by the Nelson Funeral Home with Green Funeral Home assisting. Friends and family are invited for a ceremony to celebrate Duane’s life beginning with visitation at 9:30am on Wednesday, August 19th at Hillman Free Methodist Church, followed by a Service at 11:00am. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to Alpena Community College Scholarship Fund for Non-Traditional Students, in lieu of flowers (http://discover.alpenacc.edu/about_acc/donate.php)
Editor’s note: I was fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing Duane during his days at CASE, AEM and his leadership role at Liebherr. His contributions to the industry made a difference and the void his passing leaves will never be filled.