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Join us at Yorktown Center for a Signing of John Robert Wiltgen’s book “The Candy In My Pocket: The Wild and Crazy Life of a Type 1 Diabetic” June 22nd | 2pm CST

June 22 @ 2:00 pm


June 22nd | 2pm CST

The Candy In My Pocket: The Wild and Crazy Life of a Type 1 Diabetic | John Robert Wiltgen

We kindly request that if you would like your book signed, it must be purchased at Barbara’s Bookstore. To ensure a smooth and efficient signing process, please present your receipt as proof of purchase.





Imagine becoming legally blind while working as an architectural designer. There’s the mortgage on a building you’re renovating, rent is due for your office, and employees must be paid. What would you do? Or picture yourself with kidney disease requiring a transplant. Then at the age of thirty you are diagnosed with heart disease and told you have had several silent heart attacks. How would you cope? Additionally, what if you fought cellulitis and osteomyelitis for twenty years and finally had to have your leg amputated? Could you go on?

These are a few of the amazing questions resolved in John Robert Wiltgen’s compelling memoir The Candy in My Pocket. He battled countless debilitating complications of type 1 diabetes while creating a prestigious design firm with projects across America, Canada, Mexico and even Africa.

With unwavering honesty Wiltgen chronicles the immense challenges he faced in his relentless struggle against this silent killer. The Candy in My Pocket is not solely about conquering diabetes, it is also about the author’s determination to preserve his identity and keep close those he holds dear. This captivating narrative reveals Wiltgen’s relentless pursuit of a life of purpose while remaining optimistic amidst overwhelming adversity.

As an award-winning international designer commissioned by celebrities, world leaders, and other luminaries, his memoir includes larger-than life tales that are extremely entertaining. It includes exciting celebrity cameos with stars such as Jane Seymour, Timothy Hutton, Angelina Jolie, Sean and Robyn Wright Penn, Marjorie and Steve Harvey, John Cusack, the former Governor of Lagos State (who is now President of Nigeria) and Jesus.

John worked on the architectural detailing of your friend’s home, Melody Spann Cooper, when she purchased her mansion on Prairie Avenue. He also provided his professional design services for Joan Johnson’s farm in Huntley, IL. Joan and her husband founded the haircare and cosmetics company Johnson Products, the first Black-owned business traded on the American Stock Exchange.

The author’s compassion, wisdom, and irreverent sense of humor continues to inspire individuals of all beliefs and backgrounds to embrace optimism even in the darkest of times. By sharing the lesser-known consequences of diabetes, Wiltgen also endeavors to raise awareness about this deadly disease.

John’s narrative intertwines moments of adventure, laughter, and even fear, whisking readers away from their own lives and immersing them in a world brimming with hope and possibility.




John Robert Wiltgen started writing as soon as his mother bought him a used Underwood typewriter at a garage sale. During middle school he was editor of the school newspaper. He graduated high school in 3 years studying art, literature, creative writing and theater. When he was 17, he was the manager of the Midwest region’s model store for the Glidden Paint company while he studied interior design in the evenings despite his mother’s pleas he should be an accountant. “You can always get a job as an accountant,” she argued. To no one’s surprise he didn’t take her advice. He’s a Leo. Instead, he quit his lucrative job at the paint store to attend design school full-time. After a brief stint at Ray Vogue School of Design, the headmaster asked him to clean out his locker, stop paying his monthly tuition installments and never return. He was still 18 years old when he embarked on his career as a residential designer and never looked back. It’s nearly impossible to build a luxury design firm when he lost his sight a short time later. After all, who wants to hire a blind decorator?
At 22 John was diagnosed with retinopathy-a complication of diabetes. And though diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-aged people it did not stop John from eventually building his award-winning design firm into a multi-million dollar business. Despite a four-year period of blindness, followed by many other complications of type 1 diabetes, John built his residential design firm by also writing press releases, articles, and lectures. His home designs have been created for clients across North America and as far away as Africa’s Ivory Coast. He obsessed over making his clients’ worlds beautiful. John Robert Wiltgen’s firm’s name is synonymous with its reputation for excellence and superior quality in design, styling, and craftsmanship. The Candy in My Pocket is John’s first book.



June 22
2:00 pm
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Space 120 Yorktown Shopping Center
Lombard, IL 60148 United States
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