John S. Wilbur Jr. died July 26 at Hospice in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 72 years old.
He was born in 1941 to Atheline and John Wilbur in Cleveland, Ohio. John attended the Loomis School and graduated from Yale University in 1964 where he was captain of the wrestling team. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1968, first in the Underwater Demolition Team 22 and then with Seal Team 2, where he lived among the Vietnamese of the Mekong Delta. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his service.
After Vietnam he graduated with a degree from Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He practiced law in St. Croix, Virgin Islands as chief assistant United States attorney before returning to Florida where he was a trial lawyer and partner in the law firm of Coe & Broberg in Palm Beach. He moved back to Cleveland in 1994 where he was president of University Circle Inc., a nonprofit organization. Later he revisited Vietnam and wrote a book, Split Vision, in which he recalled his war experiences and commented on the people, country and culture with poetic impressions. John and his wife, Beverly, lived in Palm Beach, Cleveland, Martha’s Vineyard and have been longtime members and residents of the Ocean Club of Florida in Ocean Ridge, Fla.
He was a past president of the Yale Club of the Palm Beaches, a founding director of the UDT/ Seal Team Museum in Ft. Pierce, and a vestry member and senior warden of Bethesda By The Sea. He led an interesting and adventurous life. His friends were legendary and remained an active and joyous part of his difficult last years with dementia. But his family and friends were what he treasured most.
He is survived by Beverly, his wife of 33 years, step daughter Blair and her husband, Tim Givens, and their children Taylor and Jamie Givens of Palm Beach, Fla.; step daughter Jill Butler and step son Jay Butler of West Palm Beach, Fla,; sisters Atheline Wilbur of Boston, Andrea and her husband, Sergio, of Milan, Italy, and Maren Wilburo of Cleveland, Ohio, as well as many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
He will always be loved by all. A memorial celebration of his life will be held in October and announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Bethesda By the Sea Church,141 S County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480, or to Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.