Beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle Henry Heininger Wiley of Edgartown died at home on June 26. He was 89.
Henry was born to Pauline and Thomas Wiley on Jan. 8, 1924, joining two older sisters, Pauline (Polly) and Barbara (Bobby). He graduated from Orange County Public Schools and enrolled at Newark College of Engineering. In November of 1942 Henry volunteered for the armed forces, and after completion of his first college year began active duty at Fort Dix, N.J. He volunteered and was accepted into the U.S. Army Air Corps and began pilot training in Texas, Alabama and Mississippi. After the Battle of the Bulge, the Army determined there was a greater need for infantry soldiers, so Henry’s pilot training unit was disbanded and he was transferred to General Patton’s Third Army, Headquarters Company Third Battalion, 261st Infantry. He saw action crossing the Siegfried Line, through central Germany at the Battle of Struth, and southeast to Austria. He received a Letter of Commendation for volunteering to rescue wounded soldiers under fire at the Battle of Aabach on the Danube River near Regensberg, Germany. In December 2007 he received a Bronze Star for this act of bravery. He was honorably discharged in June of 1946.
Upon return to civilian life Henry continued his education, graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a Bachelor of Arts, and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a Bachelor of Laws. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1951. On June 25, 1949 he married Jane Carolyn Whiting of Orange, N.J., a recent graduate of Pembroke College. They settled in Toms River, N.J., where he became a partner in the law firm Berry, Whitson, and Berry. He served as president of the Ocean County Bar Association from 1967 to 1968. In 1968 New Jersey Governor Richard Hughes appointed Henry a judge of the Ocean County Court. He served that court until 1978. In 1978 he was appointed to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, which he served until 1988. One of his most notable opinions was a ruling allowing a terminally ill patient to request withdrawal of life support. This opinion was upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court and was later cited by the US Supreme Court. Among other accomplishments, Judge Wiley ruled on prison reform, and ruled in favor of a comprehensive wetlands policy for the state of New Jersey. He retired from the Chancery Court of New Jersey in 1988, and moved from Toms River, N.J. to Edgartown in 1998.
Jane and Henry were married for 64 years. Together they raised five children, Bruce, Barbara, David, Thomas and Charles Wiley, in the New Jersey countryside. Henry renovated and added to a mid-19th century farmstead, cultivated a large garden and contributed to his community, including serving as president of the Tom’s River Kiwanis Club. He spent vacations returning to the Vineyard, where his grandfather had a cottage since 1917. In addition to his delight in the large family gatherings there, he enjoyed carpentry, music, history, lively discussions, horses and many overindulged dogs.
Throughout his life, Henry set an indelible example of honesty, integrity, generosity, compassion, hard work and deliberation for his colleagues and family.
Henry is survived by his wife, Jane; his sons, Bruce and spouse Julien, David and spouse Trish, Thomas and spouse Laura, and Charles and spouse Christine; and his daughter, Barbara and spouse Mike. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, brother in law James Morley, nephews Tom and John Morley and Peter and Thomas Clark, and nieces Carol Morley and Sue Blackerby, as well as their spouses.
Interment will be at the Edgartown Cemetery on July 3, followed by a memorial service at the home of Charles Wiley in West Tisbury.
Memorial donations may be given to the Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, or to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, Trinity Park, Oak Bluffs, MA, 02557.
The family of Henry Wiley wishes to thank Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard and Henry’s private caregivers for their dedication and support.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. An online guest book is available at ccgfuneralhome.com.