Dayton funk legend dies


A vocalist that helped the world appreciate “Boogie Nights” has died. 

Keith Edward Wilder, a vocalist for the legendary Dayton/London, England funk band Heatwave, has died. Wilder was in his 65. 

“He was a really good family man,” Billy Jones, Wilder’s cousin and bandmate, said of the Chaminade High School graduate. “He loved his family.” 

Jones said Wilder’s survivors include his mother Lucille; his wife, Linda; three brothers and four children.  
>> RELATED: 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

Formed in 1975 by Wilder’s brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr., Heatwave hits included "Boogie Nights," "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line." 

The platinum-selling band earned fans here and abroad in the 1970s and ’80s. 

“We went through a lot, me and Keith. We traveled the world together with the band. We had some really good times,” Jones said.

>> Johnnie Wilder Jr. died in 2006 at his Clayton home at age 56. 

A 1979 car accident made the shining star a quadriplegic, but he continued to make music his life, working with students at Central State University. 

Heatwave member Rod Temperton died of cancer in London in October of 2016.  

>> RELATED: Funk legend dies 

Now based in the Atlanta area, Keith Wilder often visited his hometown to see his mother and other relatives, Jones said.

He had suffered health problems, his cousin said. 

He said Wilder died in his sleep. 

Memorabilia from Heatwave is a part of the Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center, which is set to open at  113 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton’s Fire Block District.

“The Funk Center sends (its) condolences to the family of Keith Edward Wilder, lead singer of the Funk group Heatwave. Our prayers go out to the Wilder family in Dayton, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia,” a statement from Funk Center CEO David R. Webb reads.

Grammy-winning Dayton funk legend Keith Harrison of Faze-O and Dazz Band fame was a member of Heatwave during the band's last two albums. 

He has known Wilder and his family since their high school days. 

“Keith was a great person. He had a lot charisma, a lot of laughter. Very pleasant at all time,” Harrison said. “It’s just so devastating. We had great times. That’s what I try to remember while praying for his family, such a close-knit family.” 

Jones said he is happy that his cousin’s legacy will live on through his music. 

“I am at a loss for words. We are going to miss his voice,” Jones said. “He had a great voice, but we can always put on a record and hear it.”

A viewing will be held 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 at Gregory B. Levett Funeral Home 

914 Scenic Highway, Lawrenceville, Ga. 

A funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6 at Bridge Pointe Church,  285 Victory Dr. SE, Marietta, Ga. 

Flowers and/or  donations to Positive Impact International are being accepted.

The Wilder family-founded nonprofit provides free and/or affordable access to music and the arts to kids of all ages.

Additional information can be found at thepositiveimpact.org.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Ohio

Fog this morning; showers, storms to return today
Fog this morning; showers, storms to return today

Few evening showers and storms today Chances for rain/storms continues into weekend Little relief from the heat/humidity Today: Some areas could wake up to some fog this morning, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. The chance for showers and storms returns today, with the best chances later this afternoon and evening. While...
Diplomas temporarily stripped from 2 students who wore military cords at graduation
Diplomas temporarily stripped from 2 students who wore military cords at graduation

Two North Carolina students said they had their diplomas taken away because they wore military cords around their necks at graduation. The two graduates wore the special cords during graduation to symbolize their enlistment in the U.S. Army. Their celebration turned to punishment after they wore their cords Friday at West Bladen High...
17-year-old shot, killed by police in Pennsylvania
17-year-old shot, killed by police in Pennsylvania

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot. According to the Allegheny County Police Department, the vehicle the teen got out of matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred in North Braddock around 8:20 p.m. An ...
21-year-old drowned trying to save child at the beach, family says
21-year-old drowned trying to save child at the beach, family says

Friends and family of a 21-year-old Cartersville, Georgia, man who drowned at Florida's Panama City Beach over Father's Day weekend say he died a hero. Tony Jackson Jr. was on vacation swimming with friends when a strong current pulled him under. WSB-TV's Michael Seiden spoke with Jackson's friend, Muhammad Qasim, who was at the beach with...
7-month-old baby dies in hot car in Georgia, police say
7-month-old baby dies in hot car in Georgia, police say

Police say they are not releasing any additional information about the death of a 7-month-old who was found in a hot car in Camden County, Georgia, near the Florida border. Kingsland officers were called to a motel Tuesday after reports that an infant was not breathing, the police department said. The child was declared dead. Neighbors told ...
More Stories