Donny Wilder, former Clinton (South Carolina) Chronicle publisher, dies

Jan 1, 2022


Donny Wilder, born March 9, 1932, was the son of the late Shadie S. Wilder and Robert P. Wilder. He peacefully passed away on November 2, 2021, with his family by his side.

Donny Wilder, once a promising football player, contracted polio at the age of 13, cutting his athletic aspirations short. His English teachers encouraged him to use his knowledge of football to begin writing for the school’s newspaper. He continued his work on newspapers in Morehead City, North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina, Rock Hill, South Carolina; Sarasota, Florida; and Shelby, North Carolina, before becoming the editor and publisher of The Clinton Chronicle, a position he held from 1967 until 1987.

According to the South Carolina Press Association's history book, under his leadership, The Clinton Chronicle was the first weekly newspaper in South Carolina to go offset in the late 1960s.

Donny served as president of SCPA in 1974. He sold the newspaper in 1987 to Smith Newspapers of Fort Payne, Alabama.

He also was co-owner of the Radio Station WPCC from 1985 to 1993.

He served in South Carolina's House District 15 as representative from 1992-2002 and was instrumental in the development of Musgrove State Historic Park, which is located on Highway 56, a portion of which is named in his honor. He received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor in 2002. For Donny, it was never a matter of putting political parties above service itself; it was about remembering to make people a higher priority than votes. The same applied for his career as a journalist. Donny believed that communities are more important than headlines.