Obituary Donald Wheeler

Obituary

DONALD E. “YOGI” WHEELER

June 2, 2016

 

Worland resident, Donald Eugene Wheeler, “Yogi”, died on June 2, 2016 at the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. He was born on July 29, 1935 to Nellie Worthington and Cecil Wheeler in Ainsworth, Nebraska. Don attended the majority of his schooling in Basin, Wyoming. He married Velma Mills on June 23, 1956 and to this union 6 children were born.

Don received his BS in Education at Chadron State where he was the quarterback of the football team and was a catcher on the baseball team. In 1957 he started his teaching career and retired in 1998. Don was a history teacher, coach, husband, father, and grandpa.

He was an avid baseball fan, especially his Yankees, thus the nickname Yogi, for Yogi Berra, his favorite all time baseball player. He and his father were a pitcher- catcher combination. He coached the Worland Indian Baseball team and his son, Dennis, which brought them a shared love of baseball. He and Dennis were able to take a baseball trip back east that was a highlight for both. He was always a voracious reader, loved great music such as Eddy Arnold and doing woodworking with mom.

He and his long time mentor and friend, Bob Carey, were pioneers in starting women’s basketball in Wyoming, in 1973. He coached around 35 years, coaching football, baseball and basketball. Coaching girls’ basketball was one of his greatest loves and he was adamant about never throwing out the scorebooks for all of the games. He drew up many plays on his kitchen table. He touched many lives through his coaching.

He was the voice of the Warriors, announcing many Worland Warrior Football Games. He continued his love of sports from the stands.

Dad’s favorite spot at home was at the kitchen table with his buddies. Along with his great friend, Tom Lambert, they solved all the world’s problems at the Wheeler’s kitchen table. He enjoyed his Coors beer until the dementia made him forget that he loved beer.

He imparted wisdom on occasion such as “Do what you do, do well”, “Be kind to us”, (which we heard every Friday or Saturday night), and “Whatever”. We like to think he meant, “Whatever you do, do it well, and be kind along the way.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Velma, one son, Michael, and one sister, Patricia Good.

Survivors include his brother; Richard (Maryann) Wheeler, brother-in-law, Gary Good, five children, Janet (Roger) McKillip, Lori (Scott) Carlson, Robyn (Don) Bryant, Miki (Milt) Avalos and Dennis (Melissa) Wheeler; grandchildren, Jason (Marie-Claire), Ryan (Courtney) and Lindsey McKillip, Ashley (Derrick) Carlson, Neeley Carlson, Brandon (Kayla) Bryant, Brady (Emily) Bryant and Bree (Dan) Uresk, Austin and Eric Avalos, Jordan Wheeler, Amanda (Chris) Hower, Nicole, Morgan and Chad Cross; great-grandchildren, Madison, Olivia, Braxton and Braelynn McKillip, Kurri Parker, Finley Bryant, Uriah Uresk, Karter, Kason and Kaybree Cross, Hunter Hower (arriving soon), numerous nieces and nephews as well as all the fur grandkids who came to visit.

The family would like to acknowledge Worland Healthcare nurses and staff and Beehive Homes and Karen Lopez for their care and support of our family. We are fortunate to have such caring individuals in our community that helped us through this difficult time. We hope you know that we are very appreciative of the care and love you showed our dad during his battle with Alzheimer’s.

Funeral services will be held 11:00, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the First Baptist Church with Pastor Roger Dobson officiating. Burial will be at 2:00 p.m. at Mount View Cemetery in Basin. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services. Memorial donations may be made to Worland Youth Baseball or the ALS Foundation in care of Bryant Funeral Home, PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at www.bryantfuneralhomeonline.com.