for the Columbia Missourian
Sunday, March 3, 2013 | 5:35 p.m. CST BY Caitlin Kerfin
COLUMBIA — In his motorized chair and with his granddaughter Melissa on his lap, William D. Wikoff visited the zoo in St. Louis with his stepdaughter Ruthanne Wunder every year.
“He’d say, ‘Oh, missy can sit with me,'” Wunder said. Her daughter loved riding with Mr. Wikoff around the zoo.
Mr. Wikoff died at home Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.
Mr. Wikoff was the youngest of three sons. His parents were Henry Greene and Emma (Davidson) Wikoff. He was born on their farm in Robbinsville, N.J.
“He was quite a guy,” Jayne Wikoff, his wife, said. “He was quiet. I was the noisy one.”
Mr. Wikoff moved to Hightstown, N.J., where he started a welding business to support his family.
In 1971 he married Jayne Wikoff and moved to Armstrong with their youngest children to pursue farming. A few years later the family moved to Columbia where Mr. Wikoff worked in the computer training site for MU. He retired in 1989 because
of medical issues.
“He was the kind that would always attract people because he would listen and wasn’t judgmental,” Jayne Wikoff said. “People would ask him for advice.”
In 1946, Mr. Wikoff and his brother were hit by a drunk driver. His brother died, and Mr. Wikoff left leg wasamputated.
“I don’t know if this was one of the things that made him so strong, but he was very people-aware and had a great understanding of people,” Jayne Wikoff said.
When in line at a drive-thru, he would tell Jayne to make sure she knew her order before she got to the window. “‘That poor lady is waiting for your order,’ he’d say,” Jayne Wiloff said.
“He cared about people,” she said.
Mr. Wikoff didn’t let anything stop him from playing with his children. Jayne . Wikoff has fond family memories, including visiting the St. Louis Arch.
“He would race the kids down the hill at the arch in St. Louis on his crutches, and he would win,” she said.
After he retired, Mr. Wikoff and his wife drove more than 14,000 miles in 1994. He then spent time doing carpentry, plumbing and electrical work around the house, helped friends at Walk-About Acres and found time to learn to play canasta.
He is survived by his wife Jayne Wikoff; two daughters, Myra Strucek and husband, Rick, and Wendy Fierros; two sons, William D. Wikoff Jr. and Bruce Wikoff and his wife, Marjorie; two stepchildren, Ruthann Wunder and Christopher Stephenson and his wife, Martha; 11 grandchildren, Andrew Strucek, Katelyn Strucek Massa, William Wikoff III, Virginia Wikoff, Melissa Wunder, Ellen Stephenson, Eric Stephenson, Krystyn Wikoff, Dustin Wikoff, Jamie Fierros and Rebecca Fierros; and four great-grandchildren, Blake, Robert, Samuel and Noah.
Masonic services will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. March 10 at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., with the Rev. Paul Harwood officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3100 Pioneer Drive, Columbia, MO 65202.