Dr. James Robert Wild, PhD.

Dr. James Robert Wild, PhD.
November 24, 1945 – August 14, 2019

Dr. James Wild PhD, 73, of College Station, passed away on August 14, 2019, in Bryan after a 17-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, associated dementia and it’s later stages. There will be an open house celebration of Dr. Wild’s life at Christ United Methodist Church, Friday, October 18, 2019, from 3 to 6 pm.

Jim was born on November 24, 1945, to Robert Lee Wild and Elleta Wheeler Wild in Sedalia, MO. He graduated from high school in Riverside, CA in the early 1960s and was off to the University of California at Davis (Cal Aggies) where he earned a BS in 1967. In 1971 he earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of California at Riverside. Following his graduation, he traversed the continent to serve as a Lieutenant in the Navy for three years. Jim was stationed at the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) in Bethesda, MD studying the effects of high pressure on the efficacy of antibiotics. Along with doing his research, he had many ancillary duties in the Navy including participating in all types of sports to help NMRI try to achieve the all-district Navy sports awards in the Washington DC area. Jim was also appointed as a race relation’s facilitator, spending several weeks in California honing his skills in the endeavor. Upon completion of this training, he returned to Bethesda to lead many sessions on the base to help people of various races and backgrounds develop more understanding and respect for each other.

While in the Navy, Jim met a Navy optometrist, Lieutenant JG Ann Brenner. They were married early in the morning on August 1, 1973. They attended a softball tournament in the afternoon. Unfortunately, Jim’s team lost and they had to play in the losers bracket. In August of 1975, Jim came to TAMU to teach biochemical genetics to Aggies. He did this with enthusiasm for 37 years. He had an active research program over those many years while shepherding numerous Ph.D. and Master Degree students. He also taught hundreds of undergraduates. In addition to research and teaching, he served as an Associate Dean of AG and Life sciences from 1988 to 1992. He was a Professor and Head of Biochemistry and Biophysics from 1994 to 2000.
Jim was responsible for developing summer research opportunities for minority students from Texas and beyond. In addition to this, he helped a friend set up an award-winning afterschool program in Bryan for elementary school kids, which gave them an introduction to science.

Other activities Jim enjoyed were working with a high school Baptist youth group in Riverside, CA during his graduate school days. With the assistance of Ann and other church members, he led the Methodist Youth Fellowship at A&M United Methodist Church in College Station. His tenure for those activities totaled over 15 years.

The year 1984 brought a new member to the family, daughter Kalli Wild. This event shifted focus from the youth at church to the daughter at home. Jim was an active dad in rearing the apple of his eye. He encouraged her in sports, school, dance and singing, and poured his heart into fatherhood. He had an amazing sense of humor and could quickly turn any stranger into a friend. “Every person has a story, and every story deserves respect” was the motto he lived his life by.

Dr. Wild is survived by his wife of 46 years, Ann Wild; his daughter Kalli Wild and her partner Charles; his sisters Janet Cover and her husband Robin, and Margi Wild and her husband Wayne McKinney; and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840. Please designate the 652596-94880-Dr. James Robert Wild Scholarship in the memo line of the check.

On-Line giving instructions: giving.tamu.edu
Give Now (at the top), Select “An Unlisted Account”, Complete the amount and personal information, At the bottom under additional comments put: In memory of Dr. James Robert Wild. To account 652596-94880-Dr. James Robert Wild Scholarship.

Express condolences at CallawayJones.com


  1. Ann, I am sorry to hear of Jim’s passing, but I know his life was deeply impacted by Parkinson’s and I am glad he is finally at peace. He was always a wonderful person to work with in his faculty/administrative role on campus when I was trying to manage difficult situations with international students in the 1990’s. I appreciated his caring and sensitivity to their concerns and how he modeled great leadership in everything he did. I didn’t know him well, but was always glad to interact with him. He was a great problem solver.

  2. I am so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. We could not have had better neighbors than Ann and Jim Wild. He was amazing with a great sense of humor. I am thankful he is no longer suffering.

  3. Ann,
    We are so sad to hear about Jim’s passing and his health struggles over the past years. It was an honor to serve with Jim during our time at CUMC. He was the real deal.
    May God give you and your family comfort and peace now and always. Blessings to all.

  4. Ann:
    I am so saddened to hear about Jim’s passing. He was a great person to work with since the early 80’s building the genetics program and biochemistry at TAMU. We did not always see eye to eye on issues but his heart was always in the right place. I admired him for that and for his drive and enthusiasm.
    May your god be with him and you at this time.

  5. Dr Wild was such a kind gentle soul. He was the dad everyone wanted, the friend to the end we long for. He was a well of endless giving. As his voice became barely audible I could still hear words of encouragement. He gave his great big huge heart.

    • Viriginia. You are AMAZING. You have been an inspiration and support for our entire family during this past year. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to provide care for my dad. You connected with him and respected him and constantly tried to get to know the real Jim Wild. As my dad would say, you are now ready to teach his class. 🙂 My mom says that when the weather cools off she and Hank will meet you and Marley for a walk in the park. Thank you and we love you.

  6. We know it’s such a relief that Jim’s pain and anguish has ceased. Now it is joy and eternal peace. You and Kallie have been so committed to attending to Jim’s needs these past few years. The Lord has to be pleased that you tried so hard to lessen the pain he was enduring. I’m sure he was comforted by your expression of love during those years of pain. We mourn with you in this time of sorrow.

    Betty and Bob

    • Thank you both so much. We love you and my dad loved you and we are so grateful to have you as neighbors.

  7. Ann and Kalli
    Tom and I were honored to call Jim our friend. We enjoyed the times we shared. We will miss him.

  8. Dear Ann,
    Melinda and I are saddened to hear about Jim’s passing. He was one I always admired because of his accomplishments and our overlapping research interests. Whenever I met him we always chatted briefly about NMRI since we both spent time there. I always enjoyed my office visits with you because it gave me an opportunity to speak about him and get an update on his health. I wish you and your daughter the strength to bear this loss. Jim was a treasure.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sure he loved speaking with you about NMRI as well. My mom said it was always a joy to have you in the office.

  9. Dear Ann and Kalli,

    I am sorry to hear about Jim passing. I am glad he came to visit here in MT, was it been 8 or 9 years ago, or maybe more? I know he was already suffering from Parkinsons and dementia then and have often wondered how he was doing. I have known Jim and his family since I was 5, I think he was my first crush when I was 11 or 12. I was his TA when he taught math at North High School in 1972 or 73. We have kept in touch over the decades although not lately given his memory and health. I just wanted you to know Jim meant a lot to me and I will always remember him fondly.

  10. I hope time together with family and friend provides some solace.

    Jim definitely helped me (and many others) survive/thrive through adolescence with his (and Anne’s) work with MYF.

    Much love to all,


    • Thank you, my mom says she keeps up with your endeavors through your wonderful mother, and they enjoyed getting to know your dad better throughout his years at Arbor Oaks.

  11. Ann – I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Both you and Jim played such an important role in my faith development all those years ago as MYF leaders. I remember Jim’s enthusiasm and the way he encouraged our group of teenagers who didn’t know up from down half the time. Please know that he made a difference in my life. May God’s peace and comfort surround you and Kalli.

    • Thank you for your kind words. My mom said she thinks you were someone that knew up from down- even at an early age. 🙂

  12. Ann,
    Greg and I are sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. We know he had quite a battle with Parkinson’s disease. We’re grateful that he is at peace. We appreciate the time he took to lead our Sunday School class many years ago. We enjoyed his lessons. Peace be with you.

  13. Our friendship spans many years for Jim, Ann and Kalli – Love this family!! Sending peaceful thoughts, love and hugs to all.

  14. While a student at Texas A&M, one of my required classes was genetics. To say the least I was extremely apprehensive about tackling this class. After the first lecture by Dr. Wild, I no longer worried about my performance because he explained everything in words that I could understand. Dr. Wild was an amazing teacher and a huge asset to A&M. I am forever grateful that our paths crossed.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad my dad was able to help you, he loved his students so much.

  15. Ann and Kalli,
    Sending prayers for you. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing! It has been a long battle for all of you. The Wild family has left their mark on many people, so evident by the posts I have read. Jim is at peace, you all have fought a hard battle. Prayers for peace, and strength. Sheila and James Richardson

    • Thank you so much Sheila and James for your kind words. We recently watched a home video of my dad’s 50th birthday surprise party and you were both in it and it was so fun to watch. Thanks for being a friend to my dad and great skiing buddies.

  16. Ann,
    Mark and I are so sorry for your loss. You guys were such awesome mentors and friends to us while we were in CS. We will always hold those memories dear. Our prayers are with you and Kalli.

    • Roc’C, Thank you for your kind words. We have such fond memories of you and your family and we hope you all are staying healthy.

  17. Ann (and Kalli), I returned from my trip and my cousins Bill and Carol gave me the news. My heart goes out to you and Kalli. I will miss my life long friend but know he is now at peace. I will always remember our good times together especially our times just after you two were married and we visited you two Navy brats. I will be sending you a personal note soon. I will remember Jim most for his great smile, unique since of humor, great accomplishments, for choosing you as his wife, and for his and your life-long friendship.

  18. Ann and Kalli,
    My heart breaks for your loss and for ours as well. See Jim was our MYF dad, he taught us, molded us, led us, loved us, but most importantly introduced many of us to God. It only takes a spark… For me personally Jim and Ann permanently impacted my life and I am flooded with memories of all the life changing moments. Just a few years back, after not seeing Jim for decades, I was walking into Arbor Oaks to see my dad and Jim saw me , called me by name and knew details from my life. What a treasured moment!
    Ann thank you for sharing him I know it wasn’t always easy. We love you and are praying for peace and comfort for you and Kalli.

  19. Ann and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I have so many fond memories of you both and my years in MYF. You were the hands and feet of Jesus and did such a wonderful job showing so many of us the unconditional love of Jesus. Your impact has created a lifetime of love for our Savior and friendships that have lasted over the years.
    Will be praying for you.
    Jill Smeins Harris

  20. Dear Kalli,
    My deepest condolences to you and your mom. Your dad’s presence is palpable in the messages from students, colleagues, and friends. I’m sorry I missed meeting your wonderful dad. It sounds like your devotion to him through the years of his illness mirrors his devotion to you and your mom. May your memories sustain you and bring you peace. Sending love and strength to both of you.

    • Debby, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much. I’m so grateful to have had such a wonderful dad, and I’m so glad Leah has you in her life as well. 🙂 Good parents are such a blessing.

  21. Thank you Paula. I know you have been down this road twice. I remember I the enjoyable times with you all and many others in CA. I know Jim is skiing Big Bear and other places and lecturing.

  22. Ann and Kalli,

    I was saddened to hear about Jim’s passing. Jim was my MYF leader and I remember him fondly. I was a shy teenager back then and his leadership and kindness helped me grow emotionally and spiritually. When I think back to those days in MYF, I have fond memories of those Sunday evenings. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and your family.


  23. Ann,
    It has been thirty-five years since we moved from College Station. Yet, I can still hear his laugh, hear the seriousness of his questions, and sense the tenderness of his heart. He had such a positive impact on my life. Raking leaves or chicken spaghetti feeds to raise money; singing about “Jim and Ann” in place of “Jack and Diane” on ski trips; driving in caravans of vans to the hollers of Appalachia; pool days and bible studies at your house; singing in the MYF attic rooms–I hold so many memories of a brilliant man with a vibrant and gentle touch.

  24. Dear Ann, Kalli,

    You probably won’t remember me, as I left the US over a decade ago and I have been completely disconnected from anyone back in TX all this time. It’s been 6 months since Jim’s passing, so you may not even receive this.

    I remember Jim with the greatest respect and admiration. He was the best mentor anyone could hope for, and my life was immensely enriched by his teachings, both personally and professionally. It was very difficult for me to say goodbye when I left in 2008, as I knew that, because of his disease and my personal circumstances, it would be unlikely we would meet again.

    Please accept my deepest condolences. I will always think of Jim with love and gratitude.

  25. Dear Ann and Kalli,
    I was about to create a midterm exam for our graduate students loosely based on Jim’s 1989 domain substitution Nature paper, and thought to look him up. My heart goes out to you and I am very saddened to learn of his passing. That paper gave me the confidence to model the structure of human ornithine transcarbamylase; a big part of my phd thesis, and I was fortunate enough to meet him at a conference in Lund several years later and share with Jim in person that his work changed my life. My deepest condolences


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