Wiley B Wisdom

  • Born: May 17, 1956
  • Died: February 23, 2020
  • Location: Pelham, New York

Pelham Funeral Home

64 Lincoln Ave
Pelham, NY 10803

Tel. (914) 738-1060

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving husband, father, brother and friend

Wiley Burge Wisdom III, a loving, kind, patient, thoughtful man, age 63, of Pelham NY, peacefully passed away on February 23, 2020, at his home, after struggling from symptoms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

He was born on May 17, 1956 to Colonel Wiley B. Wisdom Jr. and Phyllis (Thompson) Wisdom in Fort Belvoir, VA. As the son of an Army Colonel, Wiley and the family moved around the country, living on military bases, including McDill Air Force Base in Florida, The Presidio of San Francisco, Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska and Ft. Benning, Georgia. The family settled in Columbus, GA where he graduated from Columbus High School, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia in 1974.

Upon graduation, Wiley's acting career began as a traveling actor with the Alpha Omega Players and other small traveling acting groups. Eventually he moved to New York City and worked as a waiter at the Riviera Cafe while pursuing acting work. Throughout his acting career, he had several speaking roles and appeared in background scenes in soap operas, film and television. On the television show "Law and Order", Wiley had several speaking roles, appeared frequently as a background actor, in addition to being the primary stand-in for Sam Waterston.

Wiley met his wife, Marta-Elena, on the film set of "It Could Happen to You" when he was the stand-in for Nicholas Cage and Marta-Elena played a background court room reporter. It was love at first sight and before long, they would marry on August 31st, 1996. The couple was blessed with two wonderful boys, Larkin and Julian, and moved to Pelham, NY to raise their family.

Wiley had a passion for reading books, photography, painting, music and gardening. He shared his love of bike riding, camping and hiking with his sons. He taught his oldest son, Larkin, how to play chess and shared his reading and math interests with him. Wiley was in the Boys Scouts of America and achieved the rank of First Class which inspired his youngest son, Julian, to join Cub Scouts where he eventually achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. In recent years, Wiley volunteered at the Wartburg, a retirement and assisted living facility in Mt. Vernon, NY, where he pushed wheelchair-bound residents to Sunday service.

Wiley is survived by his wife, Marta-Elena (Garcia) Wisdom, and their sons, Larkin and Julian, his sister, Barbara (Wisdom) Jones and husband Steve Jones, nieces Stephanie Jones, Kimberly (Jones) Cross and husband Clay Cross and their sons Carson and Riley, his brother, William David Wisdom and wife Silvana Wisdom, niece Madison Wisdom, mother-in-law Maria Masterson and her husband Robert Masterson, sister-in-law Diana Garcia, nieces Lindsey and Lauren, sister-in-law Michelle Smith, nephew Shane, nieces Jaime and Kaitlyn, sister-in-law Sandra Garcia and husband Jeff Wise, nephews Remment and Sebastian.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a charitable donation to:

ALS Association Greater New York Chapter: http://als-ny.org/index.php?page=about_us
Doctors Without Borders: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/?ref=donate-header
American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/

An Episcopalian service will be held on Saturday March 7, 2020 at 12:00 PM
Reception to follow at the same location 12:30-4:00 PM

Pelham Funeral Home
64 Lincoln Avenue
Pelham, New York 10803


Condolence & Memory Journal

I lied a year ago about having 40 CDs from Wylie. As I have been packing to move I realized I have closer to 80. The pictures and things that I found as I sorted through my life made it even more prominent about how much you are missed. I will think of you always, dear Wiley. Lynne

Posted by Lynne Jebens - Montclair, NJ - Friend   February 22, 2021

I worked with Wiley in 1976 at the Smokey Mountain Passion Play. Only recently saw this. Condolences.

Posted by Joseph Krygier - Buffalo, NY - Coworker   June 16, 2020

Sorry for your loss went to Columbus High even in high school
He loved drama great guy

Posted by James Coker - Columbus, GA - Friend   April 11, 2020

Matt Magoni, Pam Burns Hayes, Wiley Wisdom, Mike Autry
CHS 1974

Posted by Pamela Hayes - Westerville, OH - Friend   April 10, 2020

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Wiley was in many of my classes at CHS. He was a great guy.

Posted by Pam Dorchak - Fort Myers, FL - Classmate   April 10, 2020


Wiley was such a good friend and confidant at CHS. Matt Magoni, Wiley and I were the three amigos. I am so glad we got to re-connect in NYC and meet Marta-Elana. Rest In Peace my friend. If you see Matt or JB, hug them for us!

Posted by Pam Burns Hayes - Westerville, OH - Friend   April 10, 2020

I just read online today of Wiley's passing. My heart and prayers go out to his wife, children, and all his family. I went to school with Wiley at Columbus High School. I didn't know him before that, and to my knowledge have not seen him since. But the obituary certainly describes the guy that I remember. He was a very friendly and very outgoing guy,and to my remembrance, was very popular and well liked. He will be missed. Blessings to his family!

Posted by Bruce Edwards - Columbus, GA - Classmate   April 10, 2020

I was so sorry to hear of Wiley's passing. I had just re-connected with him last year and we talked for an hour, it was great. Wiley was a great guy and super person to be around. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during these difficult times. Wiley leaves a hole in our hearts that can't easily be filled.

Posted by Mitch Williams - Ellerslie, GA - Classmate   April 10, 2020

its been so many years since our time at CHS. I am so sorry to hear of Wileys passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you now.

Posted by Gary Clark - Columbus, GA - Classmate   April 10, 2020

Marta Elena, and sons: I will remember you in my prayers. I am so sorry for this loss in your lives. I toured with Alpha-Omega Players the same year Wily did, but was in a different unit. Still, the units shared much together during rehearsal periods and at other get togethers during the year. Wily was a great, kind, wonderful person. He will be remembered fondly by us all.

Posted by Deb South Smith - Abilene, TX - Friend   March 09, 2020

Oh, Wiley!
We toured together with the Repertory Theater of America / Alpha-Omega Players in '78-79:
The season was "St Joan" (Shaw), "LUV" (Shisgall), "The Diary of Adam & Eve" (Twain), and our own musical adaptation of the original melodrama, "The Drunkard". 33 states, 50,000 miles - most of which Wiley drove.
He was a rock solid actor and a terrific Unit Manager.
And his heart was as true and steady as any I've known.
I am blessed to have known him.

Posted by Richard Kent Green - New York, NY - coworker   March 08, 2020

I had known Wiley as long as any fellow drama student at UGA. We attended the Drama Workshop in Athens when we were in high school. Wiley always reminded me of one of my best childhood friends, a man of quiet depth and great kindness. I knew there were untapped reservoirs in him as an actor and cast him in my one act play, Billy's Last Stand, as a British coal miner. He was brilliant and honest. Through the years, I always rooted for Wiley because it seemed he'd found a way to enjoy his life and gently leave a smile on the faces of those who were graced with his presence. Rest well, friend.

Posted by Wayne Knight - Los Angeles, CA - classmate   March 07, 2020


So sorry to hear about Wileys passing. We celebrated many New Georgia Thanksgivings together. He was always welcoming to the newcomers who attended the gatherings. Absolutely one of the kindest people I ever met. We last saw each other on the crosstown bus after he had finished filming. Condolences to his dear family and all of us who will miss him.

Posted by Barbara Woods - New York, NY - friend   March 07, 2020

Dear Marta Elena, Larkin, and Julian,
Nobody knows better than you three what a fine man Wiley was, but let me add my voice to the chorus of richly deserved praise.
I went to UGA with Wiley, toured with Alpha Omega in the same year, and moved to New York at around the same time.
Our paths hadnt crossed in recent years, but I knew him long enough and well enough to know that Wiley was truly rare. He was a good guy to the core. His compassion and consideration seemed never to fail him. He had an exceptionally sensitive barometer for others feelings. He got whatever was going on with you almost without having to ask and was able to be present in a way that made it all better.
Wiley went quietly amid the noise and haste with a dry wit and a keen eye that showed itself artistically in so much that he did. Wiley didnt miss much, and for that, we will all miss him.

Posted by Meg Anderson - NYC, NY - friend   March 06, 2020

Dear Marta Elena, You may not know me. I am a member of the New Georgia group and was at UGA when Wily was. I always admired Wilys talent and his generous spirit.
We only crossed paths occasionally, but I was always struck by how satisfied Wily seemed in his life and work. Although I dont know you, Im sure that you and your children had a lot to do with that peaceful balance Wily lived.
God bless you and be with you at this time. Brian Reddy

Posted by Brian Reddy - Atlanta   March 06, 2020

Dear Marta Elena and the entire Wisdom family, I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Wiley's passing. He was a gentle, positive person who almost always had a smile on his face. I met Wiley at the University of Georgia when we were both theatre majors in the 1970s and we were in a few shows together. He was always supportive and helpful toward his fellow actors and technicians. Wiley and I also had a lot of mutual friends and spent some time together in the 1980s when we were both pursuing an acting career in New York. I don't recall ever seeing Wiley get mad or be rude. He was a gentleman and a true friend. I'm so sorry that he shuffled off this mortal coil at far too young an age. May his memory be for a blessing.

Posted by Ned Bridges - Atlanta, GA - Friend   March 06, 2020

Dear Marta Elena,
Wiley was a special man, and I know that he was specially blessed in his love for you and the boys. We kept in touch a bit over the years after touring with Alpha Omega. His pride in his family was touchingly at the forefront of every message. Heartfelt condolences to you, Larkiin, and Julian.

Posted by Liza Howe Koomen - Raleigh, NC - Friend   March 05, 2020

Dear Marta-Elena, I am distraught over the news of Wiley's passing. He has always been a bright light in my life. Besides our experiences together at the University of Georgia and Repertory Theatre of America, Wiley was from Columbus, GA where I somehow ended up after living all over the country. I've been the director of the Springer Opera House here for 33 years and enjoyed visiting with Wiley in my early years when Col. Wisdom was still alive and Wiley came here to visit. Wiley was one of the reasons I declared as a drama major at UGA. I ended up at a children's theatre performance of Remus Tales in which Wiley played Br'er Bear. I was knocked out by the show and became a theatre major that week. Not everyone was cut out for the RTA national tour but Wiley and I were both wired for it. He did some wonderful roles on those tours. I remember sitting in a van listening to the radio with WIley in 1980 when UGA beat Notre Dame for the National Championship. He was such a gentle soul. When I visited his little closet of an apartment in Greenwich Village, I enjoyed the fact that his record collection filled up about a third of the floor space. His broad knowledge of music and passion for it was always an inspiration to me. I still have the many mixtapes/CDs he made for me. They would appear in my mailbox at random moments over the years and were all treasures - some with themes and others totally eclectic. So thoughtful and personal. Wiley was the rarest of men. Joyful, kind, curious. His laughter will forever echo in my ears. Love and peace be with you all.

Posted by Paul Pierce - Columbus, GA - Friend   March 02, 2020

Dear Marta Elena, my deepest sympathies for the loss of your loving husband Wiley. A kind and gentle man. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your sons.

Posted by John Smith - Medway, MA - Family Friend   February 29, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. God gives us a hope of being reunited with our loved ones again. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Posted by A friend   February 29, 2020

I've known Wiley for over 40 years. This Yankee woman was adopted by an incredible family of friends at the University of Georgia. A huge portion of us moved to New York City to start our careers in show business. We all supported each other, and no matter where our paths led us, we always knew that we were there for each other. Wiley actually stayed with me here in New Jersey for a while until he found a place to live. I am sitting looking at a shamrock plant he left here that is still with me to this day. I am in possession of over 40 CDs he made over the years for me. He had the most uncanny ability to put together eclectic styles of music into one CD. They were oddly beautiful and wonderful. Anytime I have driven back to the Midwest, all I have to do is put 15 Wiley CDs in my bag and that covers all my musical tastes for the trip. He was my friend, he was my brother. I know how much he loved his family. My heart breaks for you all. We have all been so blessed to have this man in our lives.

Posted by Lynne Jebens - Montclair, NJ - Friend   February 28, 2020

I am so sorry for the loss of my friend and neighbor Wiley. He was a gentle man and a real gentleman. I will miss our talks, over the side yard fence, about gardening and so much more. "Like a Good Neighbor" Wiley was always there to help me whenever I needed a little help. He and his family have always been there for me. Marta-Elena, Larkin and Julian, you have my profound sympathy . Your loss of such a good husband and father is devastating and I can only offer you my prayers and continuing friendship. God bless Wiley and you all. Love, Florence

Posted by Florence Roche - Pelham, NY, NY - Neighbor   February 28, 2020

We need more people like Wiley in this world. My heart aches for your loss, Marta-Elena, Larkin, and Julian. He adored his family and was a good friend to so many. I will miss him; but the memory of his smile to bring me comfort. Know that I am thinking of you all.

Posted by Jill Clements - Atlanta, GA - friend   February 28, 2020

Dear Marta-Elena, I am so saddened by the loss of my friend of over 30 years, and I mourn for you and your family. My thoughts the past few days have been filled with memories of Wiley. My deepest condolences.

Posted by Meredith Freeman - Los Angeles, CA - Friend   February 27, 2020

When Wiley returned from his tour with the Omega players his vow beetle broke down near my apartment in Atlanta. After that time we shared living quarters in three different locations until I married in 1981. I have so many wonderful memories and shared interests in music and art. His disarming smile and engaging conversations are what stands out most in many fond memories of a life long, true friend. My sincerest condolences to Marta-Elena, Larkin and Julian.

Posted by Harley Woodgeard - Stone Mountain, GA - Friend   February 27, 2020

We are so deeply saddened to learn of Wiley's passing. We remember with such fondness the warmth and good times we all shared when our kids were young, and the beautiful photos Wiley would take. Our love and prayers are with you all. Love, Sandy, Olivier, Margot and Emma Noyelle

Posted by Sandra Noyelle - Princeton, NJ - Family Friend   February 27, 2020

Dear Marta-Elena, I am so sorry to read of the loss of Wiley. I am sending much love and condolences to you and your family. Richard Vida

Posted by Richard Vida - New York, NY - Friend   February 27, 2020

With a thoughtful demeanor and calming presence, Wiley was always a joy to be around.

Posted by Larry Gregory - New York, NY - Coworker   February 27, 2020

Time has taken a friend I had not seen in years but who was always vigilant in staying in touch, keeping the lifeline of friendship now taken from me, from all of us who knew him. We met in Athens, Georgia, in 1977, sharing a house with Charles Cooper. Conversations burrowed into the night, especially over music, his fine palate for food, the nearly inconceivably soft gentle conversation of his. Years again would pass, I moved to Europe, far away but the joys of onionskin letters before digital. Once or two twice I came through New York, and Wiley would come out, kindness personified, we'd tour his preferred used CD shops, and out he'd pull what I had to have. I think of the last one, Cassandra Wilson, Last Train to Clarksville. I shall play it now. On Marta-Elena and Wiley's honeymoon you were in Paris and stopped by on the boat in the Seine. Years would follow of email, stacks of CDs carefully made by Wiley with his extensive notes, then the depths of time we are all sooner winged by, and now this sad news, past reckoning, my remorse is huge of not staying more in touch with this kind heart, seriously good humored man. Thank you, Wiley, massively for all that you offered in friendship, founded in Athens and set afloat through the ages. You were a good man in so much. The picture above says it all. My sincerest condolences to Marta Elena and Larkin and Julian.

Posted by Rick Cooper - Saint Gervais les Bains Fran - Friend   February 27, 2020

Wiley was truly the best of people. He was a great friend, filled with love for life and sly humor. Gifted in so many areas - acting, music, photography, plants, fish, writing...the list goes on. He was devoted to Marta Elena, Larkin & Julian. It is a devastating loss, but our lives are richer for having him in it. We will miss his stories, his attentiveness, his ability to listen, his racquetball game. We treasure our mixtapes & CDs, the beautiful photos he took, his care and kindness, and our memories of time with him.

Posted by Kathryn & Emmett - New York, NY - friend   February 26, 2020

Family Album

Community Photos

Senior picture Columbus High School 1974
Matt Magoni, Pam Burns Hayes, Wiley Wisdom, Mike Autry CHS 1974