Severna Park Mom Remembers Her Son, Lance Cpl. Taylor Wild
After her son was killed in a training accident in Nevada, Betz Wild remembers a boy who was unafraid to show love.
He was the boy who liked to fish, play baseball and dance with his sister. He was affectionate, kind and a family man—that’s how Betz Wild remembers her son.
Lance Cpl. William Taylor Wild IV was killed Monday during a training accident in Nevada. While he was a Marine who sacrificed his life to serve his country, he was a boy unafraid to show love to Betz.
“He’s definitely one of those kids that had no problem showing love,” Betz said. “He doesn’t care where he is, he will give you a hug anywhere and say ‘love you mama’ or ‘love you poppy.’ If Taylor loves you, you know it.”
Now Betz reflects on a memory of Taylor playing with his sister. Whenever Taylor was home, Betz said his 9-year-old sister Libby would jump up and down and constantly bug him to play.
“They would play this Wii dance game and we would just sit there and laugh as he did these crazy dance moves,” Betz said.
Now the Wild family is left to cope—something they are unfortunately familiar with—and left to grieve.
Twenty years ago, Betz’s mother, cousin and 5-year-old nephew were killed in a drunk driving accident. At the time Betz lived in the community of Whitehurst, where her family resides now.
Thinking back on that horrific time, Betz said she is not at all surprised by the unfailing support the community has shown now that hard times are knocking again.
“We are a family unfortunately that has known tragedy before, and we have seen firsthand how Whitehurst can rally,” Betz said. “That’s why my husband and I moved back to raise a family here. Feeling a tragedy like this for a second time—we know what Whitehurst is capable of and that’s support.”
Taylor grew up in the Whitehurst community. He went to Severna Park High, where he pitched for a state baseball championship in 2009. He enlisted after graduation and served in Afghanistan in 2011. Last fall, he volunteered for a tour in Kuwait.
Betz said on Wednesday the family went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to retrieve the body.
“It was heartbreaking, just heartbreaking,” she said. “We were out on the lift deck as all seven Marines' coffins were being taken off one at a time—it was gut-wrenching, but done with such respect.
“It is very private service, but I think it is one of those things that if the public realized how much love and respect they are given from the moment they return—it is as beautiful as it is tragic. It’s hard to believe there is beauty in that situation.”
As Betz prepares to bury her son at Arlington National Cemetery, she has turned to one person who may just understand her grief—her brother who lost his son in that drunk driving accident.
“He lives in Hawaii now and we don’t get to see him too often, but I spoke with him on the phone,” Betz said. “Having gone through this with a child before, he said to me that it is like walking on gravel in bare feet, and it’s the only path you can take. You just have to get through it. I think that put an image to the pain in a way.”
Funeral arrangements for Taylor Wild are being handled by Barranco and Sons Funeral Home.
Friends and family may visit March 28 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Barranco.
Services will be held on March 29 at 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Rd. Reception will follow at the Whitehurst Community Clubhouse located at 360 White Cedar Ln. in Severna Park.
Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be held on April 2 with the procession meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the Memorial Gate.