Calvin Richard Wilder Sr., 71, IRS worker, tax counselor

January 19, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Calvin Richard Wilder Sr., a retired IRS employee and volunteer with a tax counseling service for the elderly, died of cancer Jan. 12 at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The Ashburton resident was 71.

Known as Bobby, Mr. Wilder retired from the IRS in 1986 as a senior tax appeals officer, ending a 21-year career. He entered the civil service in 1965, first working for the Interstate Commerce Commission after completing a 21-year career with the Air Force that began in 1943.

After retiring, he became the city coordinator for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, a free service that was created by Congress in 1978 and is co-sponsored by the IRS and the American Association of Retired Persons.

He also was associated with VITA, which offers tax advice to low-income, handicapped and non-English-speaking taxpayers, also an IRS-sponsored program.

"When you do something for the little man, when he has a nice smile on his face, then that's gratifying every time," Mr. Wilder told The Sun in an interview last year.

Domenic J. LaPonzina, spokesman for the Baltimore district of the IRS, said Mr. Wilder "participated in the program for years, and we were all impressed with Cal's abilities. He was an articulate speaker and was always willing to work with new agents and speak to community groups. He made the subject of taxes understandable. What he did he did well. He was a good man and will be greatly missed."

Mr. Wilder instilled the spirit of voluntarism in his children.

"He used to say, 'Volunteering is my way of giving back to my community,' " said his son Calvin "Rick" Wilder Jr. of Oxnard, Calif., " 'and good people will get into heaven if you serve your community.' "

Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., Mr. Wilder moved to Baltimore with his family when he was a child. He attended Douglass High School before enlisting in the Air Force, where he earned a high school equivalency diploma. In 1963, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

He collected blues and jazz recordings and was a supporter of UM sports teams, frequently attending events with family and friends.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church, 4400 Liberty Heights Ave., where he was a communicant.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Consuella C. Smothers; another son, Charlton G. Wilder of Baltimore; a daughter, Stephanie M. Parker of Baltimore; two grandchildren; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

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