Dave was born on August 9, 1940 in Hazelwood, Indiana to parents Clarence and Dorothy (Busby) Wildman. He passed away on May 5, 2021. At age 5, his family moved to California and one of his first memories was sitting on his father's shoulders during a VE Day celebration in San Francisco. His family lived for a time in Hunters Point, then Rodeo, and later Vallejo, where Dave graduated from high school in1958. In the early 50's Dave was a newsboy for both The Richmond Independent/ SF Chronicle and also sold papers to sailors at Mare Island. While working several jobs he pursued and completed college with a Biology/Chemistry/Physical Science degree. In 1968 he accepted a job at Silverado Junior High School as an 8th grade Science teacher. From the beginning, Dave became one of those teachers who could connect with students outside the classroom as well, as evidenced by the following: established a Taxidermy club; was 8th-grade boys Basketball coach; developed a successful school exchange program for Silverado and Japanese students; and created and supported the Latin Crew, to name a few.
Dave skillfully offered 32 years of service to thousands of students/families in our Napa/American Canyon communities. These were years characterized by leading with devotion and implementing positive changes across the district. Following 4 years in the science classroom, Dave remained at Silverado, serving as Dean of Boys/Vice-Principal(1972-80), Principal at Ridgeview Junior High School (1980-82), returning as Principal to Silverado Middle School (1982-2000).
During his tenure, Dave was actively involved and committed to the middle school reform process working with the California State Department of Education Office of Middle Grades. In 1986 Silverado was the first in Napa to be honored as a "Distinguished School"(Also, honored a second time in 1996)
In 1988 Silverado was designated as a California State Department of Education Foundation School Region J providing support and facilitating middle school reform throughout the region. (from the border to the bay)
Dave's life was one of service to others, for the betterment of all, whether it be as a classroom teacher sharing the mysteries of science; a Principal demonstrating in Homemaking classes how to make an omelet (as homework the students had to replicate the omelet for their parents!); a citizen, as a member of Kiwanis, helping to build school playgrounds; a volunteer with others, preparing the pasta and sauce (an all-day process) for many crab feed fundraisers. Dave, as a charter member, was instrumental in the establishment of the American Canyon Kiwanis Club. He also enjoyed voluntary participation in Hispanic Network, Special Olympics, Kiwanis as well as membership in Phi Delta Kappa, California League of Middle Schools, Association of California School Administrators, and National /Middle School Associations. More recently, he enjoyed being a member of the Bistro Don Giovanni Table 31Club as well as monthly "Choir Practice" meetings.
Dave's interest in wine led him, and several educator friends, into the personal winemaking world. What began in the Wildman garage in the early 80s evolved into a more sophisticated production of a quite-good Pinot Noir enjoyed by friends and family. Once retired, Dave found great pleasure in working for several years in the tasting room of a local winery. He enjoyed interacting with the visitors and had many stories to share. He could easily engage the customers as he entertained them while providing a fun-filled tasting! He was also known as a pie maker extraordinaire, and shared his baking talents often with friends, to their delight! A 49ers and Giants fan, Dave had an eclectic list of "favorite things" which included but are not limited to the humor of Johnathan Winters, The Three Tenors, Roseville pottery, movies of all kinds, particularly vintage ones, Westerns, Hawaiian shirts, the Sonoma coastline, crossword puzzles, trips to England and Italy, time well spent with long time friends, a good joke, telling a story, being with family. He had a quick wit as well as an incredible memory and could surprise us at trivia recall. He was a loving father and remarkable husband in every way; a prince of kindness, intelligence, and humor(sometimes subtle, sometimes not). He was an exemplary man who has had a profound and positive effect on so very many, including both students and colleagues alike as expressed by the following note received by the family:
"Dave was one of the finest men I have ever met. He was one of those truly generous, gracious individuals who made life so much more pleasant for everyone around him."
Dave is survived by his wife Nancy, children Christine, Jeremy, and Sarah; his siblings Anita, Sonya, Rose, Sue, Helen, and Bruce, and their families. He is also survived by in-laws in the Wiggin, Heid-Wright, and Heid families, as well as Indiana Busby/Wildman cousins. A Celebration of Life is planned for the future.
YOU HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE HOMBRE SALVAJE. BE AT PEACE.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marion David Wildman, please visit our floral store.