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 around the zoo with Mr. Wikoff, her grandfather.
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 Henry Wikoff died, and Mr. Wikoff's left leg was amputated.
"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 Wikoff said.
"He cared about people," she said.
Jayne Wikoff has fond memories of the time she spent with Mr. Wikoff on their farm in Armstrong.
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.
Funeral services will be held 3 p.m. March 10 at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., with the Rev. Paul Harwood officiating. Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the funeral home.
The time has not been set for masonic services that will be held for Mr. Wikoff.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3100 Pioneer Drive, Columbia, MO 65202.