Wilber faces surgery, expects quick recovery

Jeremy Wilber. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

In the wake of his November 8 election to a fifth term as town supervisor, Jeremy Wilber is recuperating comfortably at home following inpatient treatment for an acute abdominal illness, but the longtime Woodstock resident and public official plans to undergo surgery before he takes office on January 1.

The supervisor-elect reported in a recent interview that he was feeling “fine” in the aftermath of a bout with pancreatitis that left him hospitalized in Kingston on Election Day, when local voters restored him to the office he held from 2000 to 2007. At a November 15 appointment, however, an Albany gastroenterologist recommended that Wilber have surgery to remove his gallbladder. The operation is expected to take place before Christmas, with a “swift” recovery anticipated, said Wilber.

Wilber, 61, was initially admitted to Kingston Hospital on November 3 for pain presumably related to a gallstone obstructing a duct that transports enzymes from the pancreas, a gland situated behind the stomach, to the small intestine. The ensuing inflammation of the pancreas may have resulted from irritation caused by an endoscopic procedure that was performed to treat the blockage. After a brief discharge Wilber was readmitted to the hospital on November 7 and remained there until November 10.


Digital-age candidates typically monitor voting returns over the Internet and are instantly aware of the outcome when the results are final. Wilber had a different experience on election night. With his wife, Fran, taking a break at home after a long stay at his bedside, the candidate, drowsy from pain medication, was awakened around 10:45 p.m. when a nurse entered his room. “I don’t know what this means, Mr. Wilber,” said the nurse, “but there is a message at the front desk saying you won.”

The incoming town supervisor found the election results largely unsurprising. “I didn’t think it was a foregone conclusion that the Republicans would gain a one-vote majority in the county legislature, but the low turnout in Woodstock did not surprise me because there were so few contests,” he said, alluding to a local ballot in which only the races for two Town Board seats and the supervisor position were contested, while three incumbents — town clerk Jackie Earley, highway superintendent Mike Reynolds, and justice Frank Engel — ran unopposed. Ken Panza and Jay Wenk won the vacant council seats.

“All of the candidates (in contested elections) ran great races,” said Wilber. “I’m very grateful for all the well-wishes that I have received over the last few days and look forward to serving the community come day one (of the new administration). I can foresee a productive Town Board.”++