Wilt was more at ease having her husband take center stage. Richard Wilt was a professor at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design from 1949 to 1978. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 66. The two met in 1941 when Richard, five years her senior, was her instructor at a summer art school in Pennsylvania. “We had great arguments about color,” she said. They were married two years later.
During the early part of their marriage, Wilt supported her husband’s work instead of her own. “I really concentrated on Dick’s things. I never pushed myself, but I never wanted to,” Wilt said. However, she had a home art studio where she created her own art alongside her husband. Although she never attempted to sell her art or seek recognition, she won numerous awards. “People think I came into my own after he died, but that is not true,” she said.
At the age of 50, she went back to school to take art classes. She initially started at Wayne State University but then asked her husband if she could finish her degree at the University of Michigan. “I said, ‘Dear Dick, do you mind if I enroll in your art school?’ ” She thought he’d reject that idea but recalls instead that he said, “Go for it.” Wilt graduated and went on to teach art at Eastern Michigan University from 1969 to 1985.