On Dec. 17, 2012, Lt. Wylie W. Selden Jr., World War II Tuskegee Airman, passed away peacefully and comfortably at his Springhouse Assistant Living home in Silver Spring, Md. Wylie, “Cool Papa,” served primarily in the war in Europe. 

At 93, he had a full and wondrous life, serving as a test pilot for planes such as the P-40 Warhawk and the P-51 Mustang, “Red Tails,” for the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. After the war, Wylie successfully pursued several careers and retired after serving many rewarding years in the Howard University Alumni Affairs Department. 

He has been frequently recognized for his many years serving as a motivational speaker educating the public about the Tuskegee Airmen. In 2007, along with other Tuskegee Airmen, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his WWII service. 

He was a special invitee to President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and to a White House screening of the movie Red Tails; in both occasions, he met the President personally and considered Mr. Obama as his “main man.” Wylie always kept loving memories of his mother, Dahlia, and his father, Wylie Sr., a Norfolk, Va. community activist and the key inspiration in Wylie’s life.

Cherishing his memory are other members of the Selden and Joice families along with a host of other relatives, friends, and admirers. Services for Lt. Selden were held on Dec. 27th at the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.

He was interred at the Maryland National Memorial Park, Laurel, Md., where he will join his lively late wife, June Joice Selden, whom he has dearly missed.



Obituary Desk