Cover photo for Michael Brandon Wilhelm's Obituary
Michael Brandon Wilhelm Profile Photo
1960 Michael 2021

Michael Brandon Wilhelm

July 20, 1960 — June 8, 2021

Michael Brandon Wilhelm of Decatur, Georgia, left this world peacefully on June 8, 2021, surrounded by the love of family and friends. He will be lovingly remembered by his brother, Randall Shawn Wilhelm, of Clemson, South Carolina, his cousin, Hope McDowell, of Greenville, South Carolina, Cheri Cashin, of Walhalla, South Carolina, James Arthur Cashin, of Mountain Rest, South Carolina, and other loved relatives, and countless members of his friend family, who helped him endure the struggles of an aggressive form of cancer since his diagnosis in July of 2020. He was predeceased by his parents.
Michael was born in Clemson, South Carolina, on July 20, 1960, the son of legendary baseball Coach Bill Wilhelm and the saintly Sarah Wyly Cashin Wilhelm. He had a passion for sports, nature, history, dogs and music, in particular, The Rolling Stones. Son of one of the most successful college baseball coaches in history, Michael was catching college baseball pitchers in the bullpen by age 15. Michael went on to play baseball at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts. His 15-year career with CNN began in 1986, and included five years in the Sports department before moving into hard news journalism.
Michael was an Emmy-award winning journalist who thrived on breaking news assignments. As a sound technician/editor and photojournalist for CNN, and other networks, he witnessed history unfolding in Sarajevo, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania and Haiti. He covered countless news events such as the onslaught and aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, to the capture of the Unabomber, to two presidential campaigns. Feature news assignments took him on memorable adventures in Hawaii and Woodstock, NY. He never stopped enjoying the pursuit of compelling news stories and was an avid reader of The New York Times, often sharing interesting stories with friends.
Michael traveled far and wide in his personal life as well, exploring the wilderness of multiple National Parks across the U.S. including the Grand Tetons, Zion, Arches, Yellowstone and Yosemite. His favorite was the largest national park in the United States: the incredible wilderness of Wrangell - St. Elias in Alaska, where he drove the famous McCarthy road and watched grizzly cubs at play in the wild. Among the many international destinations Michael traveled, Paris, Rome, Prague, Copenhagen and Amsterdam were his favorites.
He treasured his beloved Black Labradors, Tiger and Blue. After more than a decade globetrotting for CNN, he freelanced in the television world, and in his leisure time was a self-taught carpenter, furnishing his own home and building all kinds of pieces for his family and friends.
It was hard to say whether he was more pumped up when he was at Death Valley in Clemson, singing the “Tiger Rag,” or taking in the moves of his musical hero, Mick Jagger, at one of the countless Rolling Stones concerts he attended. He was thrilled to see his Tigers win three national championships: in 1981, 2016, and 2018, and was especially proud that the number one NFL draft pick in 2021 hailed from Clemson.
Michael was a loyal Chicago Cubs fan who never missed a game, and in his final days he experienced a moment of unparalleled joy when he was personally recognized by Cubs announcer Jim Deshaies during the MLB game against the San Diego Padres. Like the Clemson Tigers that he loved so much, Michael had a ferocious spirit, fighting cancer with consummate strength and courage. If a successful life is measured by the memories you leave in the hearts of those who loved you, Michael Wilhelm was an enormous success. Just as he once hiked miles through the blackened forests of Yellowstone National Park determined to get to the glorious limestone pools, he trudged through the obstacle course of his disease, optimistic to the very end.
A Celebration of Life will be held on July 24, 2021, at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia, from 2-5pm. The family asks that anyone who wishes to make a contribution in Michael’s name consider a donation to any animal shelter, or to the Michael Wilhelm Memorial Scholarship fund at any Regions Bank, c/o Stephanie Oswald. The family plans to dedicate that scholarship annually, to a student with Michael’s sense of passion for the production of informative journalism.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael Brandon Wilhelm, please visit our flower store.

Guestbook

Visits: 4

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree