Edwin A. (“Spike”) Wahlen, Jr., a longtime NSCA member, generous supporter, and Honorary Team Captain of the USA Sporting Clays Team, passed away on July 9. An accomplished wingshooter, Spike enjoyed hunting quail in the South, ducks and geese in Canada, doves in Argentina, and, most of all, pheasant and grouse in England, Scotland and Wales. Spike was forever honing his craft and improving, winning the FITASC Championship in Senior Super Veteran concurrent at the World English Sporting Clays Championship in April. He was passionate about building the sport he loved, always organizing groups to go shooting and quick to lend a few words of advice to beginners and veterans alike.
Spike was an early member of Burge Plantation Club and the Green Jacket Club, as well as a charter member of Smoke Rise Field Club. He resided primarily in Atlanta, as well as on The Island at Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, and at Cotton Terraces in Mansfield, Georgia.
Spike was born in Gary, Indiana and grew up in the Chicago area. He made his way to the South to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management. He later earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Spike had a long and successful career, first in investment banking, then in private equity. He co-founded the firm Cravey, Green & Wahlen with his good friends, Dick Cravey and Bill Green. CGW went on to become the largest private equity firm in the Southeastern United States prior to the retirement of its surviving founders in 2003. Never one to rest on his laurels, Spike stayed in the private equity business, co-founding Toxaway Capital Partners, which continues his legacy today.
Spike served on boards of many public and private companies, but his most meaningful impact was outside the business world. In 1991, he and his friend Will Lobb founded the Atlanta Charity Clays, one of the first non-profits that staged a sporting clays tournament to raise charitable funds. ACC recently celebrated its 31st year and has given millions of dollars to children’s charities in and around Atlanta. Spike also served on the Board of Zoo Atlanta for more than 20 years, including as Vice Chairman, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. He served on the Boards of Business Executives for National Security and the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation, as well as the Advisory Board of the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech and the Board of Visitors of the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was active in many other altruistic endeavors such as the Special Operations Care Fund and Gridiron Secret Society.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Cathy, his sister, Martha Hegg, as well as many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews, and his beloved Labrador retriever, Molly. He is predeceased by his parents, Edwin A. and Betty Wahlen, and his sister Virginia (“Ginny”) Elizabeth Gerald. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, August 14, in Atlanta, GA. Click here for details. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Atlanta Charity Clays (www.atlantacharityclays.org) or the Special Operations Care Fund (www.soc-f.org), or the charity of your choice.