Dr. Robert J. Wilder, a retired thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon who also specialized in emergency medicine, died Sunday of prostate cancer at his South Hutchinson Island, Fla., home. The former Baltimore resident was 82.
Born Robert J. Wilderman and raised in Newark, N.J., he legally changed his name to Robert J. Wilder in 1952.
During World War II, he served in the Army as a staff sergeant in Europe and was decorated with the Purple Heart.
He earned his bachelor's degree in 1948 from Columbia University and his medical degree in 1952 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Wilder completed surgical internships at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital and a surgical residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
He was an assistant surgical resident and later chief surgical resident at what is now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center from 1956 to 1958.
Dr. Wilder was an instructor and later professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine from 1957 to 1977 and was professor of surgery at North Charles General Hospital from 1975 to 1977.
In 1977, Dr. Wilder joined the Oklahoma State Department of Health as director of its division of emergency medical services and chief of emergency medicine and trauma at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.
He later held emergency medical services and educational positions in the Virgin Islands and at St. Thomas Hospital.
From 1989 to 1993, he was medical director and director of the surgical care section of the Metro-Dade Fire Rescue Service in Florida while teaching clinical medicine and surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
After he retired in 1994, he was medical director of the emergency medical services division at Florida Keys Community College from 1996 to 1998.
Dr. Wilder was a contributor to and author of scientific articles.
He enjoyed sailing.
A private celebration of his life will be held Sunday at his daughter's home.
Surviving are his wife of 25 years, the former Butz Stolker; his daughter, Lori Wilder Hollander of Owings Mills; and three grandchildren.
An earlier marriage to the former Arlene C. Caplan ended in divorce. His son, Paul S. Wilder, died in 1978; another daughter, Harriet Jane Wilder, died in 1994.