Loren Beth Weis Wilder, 66, of Nelson passed away on Wednesday evening, June 30, 2021, at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene after a lengthy battle with cancer.
She was born, in Paterson, N.J., on Oct. 21, 1954, the daughter of Henry Ernest and Lois Eleanor (Scott) Weis. She grew up in New Jersey and was a 1972 graduate of Kinnelon High School and attended West Virginia Wesleyan College for a year before transferring to Keene State College to complete her teaching degree (BE) as well as a Bachelor of Science degree (BS). She graduated in 1976, and then received her Master’s in Education in 1995.
It was at Keene State that she met James “Wild Jim” Wilder, and their souls became intertwined. To the surprise of most, she was able to convince him to marry, and they were married on Feb. 2, 1977, in a small service at the college chaplain’s home on campus. They recently celebrated the 44th anniversary of a marriage that was described by more than one person as a true blending of two souls and was a marriage/relationship that was an inspiration to many.
Her passion was the education of our communities’ children. Early in her career she taught science at Keene Junior High School. She related well to that age group and still is adored by her once recalcitrant charges. After she completed her master’s degree in education, she went on to work at Keene High School as a guidance advisor. When Fuller School opened its search for a new principal, she was a sure winner! Her extensive background as a classroom teacher melded well with her experience in administration. She held that position for 12 years. Upon her retirement, she became a para-professional at Chesterfield School until her health became an issue. She fought her diagnosis with the same aplomb and veracity that she approached every other challenge put in front of her. When told she “could not” or “should not” do something, she not only proved she could, and she would do it, usually more than once. In total, she dedicated nearly 30 years as an educator to the youth of Cheshire County, inspiring hundreds of children to aspire to become better adults.
In order to try to capture the essence of Loren, you would need to understand her interests (an eclectic mix to say the least), including: riding her 1979 Harley Sportster, something that drew many looks from her students when they saw her arrive at school; trail hiking, barefoot and slalom water skiing, alpine and Nordic skiing. For example, being a skilled and talented skier, she skied many of the worlds most challenging ski areas and mountains. She once skied the famed White Heat trail at Maine’s Sunday River Resort, dubbed the “longest, steepest, widest, groomed, lift-serviced expert trail in the East” three times in a row, after being told it was “too dangerous and she probably shouldn’t.” She enjoyed snowboarding, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, mountain biking, inline skating, working out with free weights and machines. As a general rule, you never wanted to challenge her to a feat of strength, for such a petite woman, she was uncommonly strong. She also enjoyed wilderness backpacking, “stamping,” reading everything from sci-fi to the Holy Bible, vegetable gardening and singing. This talent did not go unrecognized as she was actually called on stage by Joan Jett herself at a Joan Jett & The Blackhearts concert. A talented guitarist, she played guitar in the Nelson Sing-a-long Band, and she was a long time member of the Christ Lutheran Church in Troy.
She was blessed with a truly beautiful soul, an amazing spirit, and was practically fearless at anything she approached. All of this was packed into an unassuming, beautiful, petite, blonde, country girl. Who else could have faced, without backing down, a contingent of Hell’s Angels? She, Jim and the European side of the family traveled across the Central Highlands of Iceland, over the “Gateway to Hell”, and skinny dipped in Krafla Viti crater, an active volcanic caldera. There was nothing she couldn’t do if she put her mind to it. No challenge she wouldn’t face and most often conquer, until she decided she had had enough, she chose her time, her last good night, and spent it in the arms of her love, on her terms.
Survivors include her husband, Jim Wilder, of Nelson; their children, Lt. Col. Trevor Boyko, U.S. Air Force, Ret., and wife, Natalie, of Stuttgart, Germany, Jamie Leigh Pignone and her husband, Bobby, of Hollywood, Fla., and Damian Neuhoff of Nelson; four grandchildren, Jakob Jonathan Boyko, Savannah Anneliese Wilder, Ava Pignone and Reece Pignone; her brothers, Craig E. Weis of Utica, Mich., and Eric S. Weis and his wife, Nancy Ellen, of Ringwood, N.J.; and her nieces, Eden Atencio, Julia Weis, Maria Weis and Meredith Weis, whom she loved very much. They not only loved her, but thought she was truly badass!
She was predeceased by both parents, Henry and Lois Weis, and a sister-in-law, Nancy Ann Weis.
There will be no public calling hours or services. A private graveside service will be held in the family lot at Monadnock View Cemetery in Keene at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Loren Wilder’s name to the Monadnock Humane Society, 101 West Swanzey Road, Swanzey, NH 03446 (www.monadnockhumanesociety.org).
To share memories, photos or condolences with Loren’s family, please visit her permanent online memorial at www.cournoyerfh.com.