Danny Eugene Wildman, born December 13, 1949, in Corinth, Mississippi, could have sworn he died early evening on November 30, 2010, as a result of a seizure down the left side of his body caused by a previously unknown brain tumor. However, thanks to the skilled surgical work of Dr. J. D. Day at UAMS in Little Rock and the brilliant therapy team at Baptist Rehab, plus the incredible help of Shirley Ong at UAMS Cancer Center, he managed to live almost three more years, and did not say his final farewell until October 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM. (He would probably not have wanted to hear any complaints about the American healthcare system.)
He used this gift of time to spend in retirement with his friends and family after working 30 years in the life insurance business with a fine old Southern company called Life of Georgia. Prior to that, he’d been an English teacher, a hippie, a guitarist, a sound engineer and film editor at the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, a golfer, and other even worse things he’d probably just as soon you didn’t know. He leaves behind his beautiful and sainted wife, Mary Anne (Ouellette) Wildman and their only child, Sarah O. Wildman. He loved them both as much as a man can love a family.
He is predeceased by his mother, Mae Dean (Taylor ) Wildman, and his father, James Lorenzo Wildman, both born and raised in Mississippi.
Danny grew up on a farm as an only child with his parents and the best ma-ma ever, Bertha Mae Taylor.
His dad was a farmer and Baptist preacher until around Danny’s age 5, when he took a job with the Farmer’s Co-Op. This moved them to Decatur, Alabama, and did not turn out to be a good idea, maritally, for two simple country folks. After the divorce Danny graduated from Decatur High and went on to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he (for some reason) majored in English. He taught Freshman English for a few years while working towards a Master’s Degree. All of these years in academia prepared him to be almost totally unemployable.
Danny’s dad had started a houseplant-growing business in Memphis (farming gets deep in the blood), and he offered Danny a job if he moved to Memphis, a town where his parents met but in which he’d never spent more than a night or two. He would wind up living there for thirteen years, working for the Center for Southern Folklore and then getting into the life insurance business, much to his surprise. The best thing that happened to him in Memphis was meeting a girl who grew up there, so he shared this fact with his parents: He met the mom of his only child there just as his dad had done so many years before.
It turned out, also to his surprise, that he was pretty good at being a life insurance agent. Thus, he somehow got talked into going into management. It also turned out that he was also fairly good at that, so Life of Georgia started moving him around to various cities as a District Manager, ostensibly to “fix” whatever problems these branches were having. Right after Sarah was born in 1985, the first stop was Clarksville, TN. (Hated it!) After a couple of years the next stop was Huntsville, AL. (Loved it!) He stayed there until he was relocated to Little Rock in 1991, at which point he and Mary Anne decided one place was as good as another and that this moving stuff had gotten old. So he got out of management and discovered that by going back to just being an agent he made more money, worked about half as many hours and had ten times less stress. At this point, he began to wonder how they talked him into management in the first place. Then he realized, “Oh, it’s because they’re good salesmen!” He never failed to appreciate a good salesman or loathe a bad one.
Danny was pretty sure that when his dad brought home a TV in the 1950s that was the most world-changing thing he’d ever see. And it did turn out to be a game-changer, perhaps in some ways for the better. But when Danny gave up golf in the late 1990s, along came the internet. He spent a lot of the next years of his life scribbling down his musings on a site called everything2.com under the username dannye. He was somewhat proud of some of the things he wrote there and wouldn’t mind if anyone of majority age looked at them.
Note: Added by Mary Anne
Danny was always a strong man with a soft heart. He never gave up and did his best in all that he attempted. Many would never penetrate the protective shell he kept around himself which often presented as aloofness and indifference. However if you dug a little deeper you would find the treasure he kept buried.
He was as good as his word and left his wife and daughter well taken care of to continue in life.
To all his friends on E2 thank you for the years of entertainment and friendship you provided.
Mary Anne, partner and wife