Longtime Rutland Journalist Kendall Wild Dies
Rutland journalist Kendall Wild died yesterday at the age of 87. Wild spent 40 years as a reporter and later as editorial page editor for the Rutland Herald.
Wild was born in Chicago in 1927. When the Depression hit and his father lost his advertising job, the family moved to Londonderry and began farming. Ten years later, at the start of World War II, the family moved to Rutland, where Wild’s father took a job with the Rutland Herald.
After serving two years in the military, Kendall Wild went to Harvard where he graduated with a degree in medieval history. His brother Bill says Kendall hoped to become a novelist, but journalism offered a more reliable paycheck and in 1952 Kendall took a job as a reporter at the Herald. Nine years later, he was managing editor.
David Moats, who replaced Wild when the senior writer retired as editorial page editor of the Herald in 1992, called Wild “a no-holds-barred kind of journalist who really believed in getting the story and not letting people of power or privilege get in the way.”
Wild could be combative and wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers to get a story, says Moats. But he says that was because Wild felt so strongly about covering the news and bringing information to the community.
“For example, during the Civil Rights era, he himself went down to North Carolina to cover some of the demonstrations at the lunch counters because he thought it was important for Rutland to have its own eyes on the situation,” says Moats. “So he covered what he thought was important.”
Tom Slayton, a VPR commentator and former editor of Vermont Life magazine, got his start under Wild at the Rutland Herald in 1964.
Slayton says Wild improved the quality of political news coverage statewide by creating the Vermont Press Bureau, which covered the Statehouse.
And he says Wild mentored a whole generation of young reporters - people like Tony Marro, Steve Terry, Frank Hinchey, Bill Porter and Howard Coffin, among others.
Slayton says he can vividly picture Kendall Wild, who he says always came to work in a tie, sitting at his news desk. “And by 10 o’clock at night, the tie would have come undone and it would be tucked into his shirt and he’d be yelling into the phone. And if he dressed you down or complimented you, either was memorable.”
While Kendall Wild retired from the Herald in 1992, he continued to write editorials up until his health began to decline in the last year.
Family members say they’re planning a memorial service for later this summer. Besides his brother Bill and sister-in-law Ruth, Wild is survived by their children and four great nieces and nephews.