Lawrence Wellington Wheeler age 97 of Santa Fe, New Mexico and more recently of Concord passed away on Friday, June 12, 2015 at Rivercrest Long Term Care Facility in Concord.
Larry Wheeler was born in Sterling, Illinois on January 18, 1918 to Mildred Lawrence and Arthur Wellington Wheeler, and attended Sterling Township High School where he excelled in academics and sports and graduating in 1936.
Larry attended Cornell University from 1936-1940 and met Helen Brunn at nearby Wells College in upstate New York. They married on August 23, 1941. After a brief detour working for the Armstrong Cork Company in Dallas, Texas, Larry attended the Harvard Business School and then joined the Army after Pearl Harbor in early 1942, later separating at the war's end in 1946 with the rank of Captain. During these war years, Larry and Helen were blessed with two sons, Peter and David. After the war, Larry and Helen returned to Sterling, and Larry recreated his father's business, Hardware Products Company, into a wholesale distributing enterprise providing electric home products to most of Illinois and Iowa. Larry remained the driving force behind Hardware Products until his retirement from that phase of his business life in 1970. During this 25 year period, Larry and Helen were blessed with two more children, Ann and John. Upon retirement from Hardware Products,
Larry attended Northern Illinois University and received his Master's Degree in philosophy and began teaching at Northern, and then at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and finally through the University of Maryland in Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Germany, Spain and Crete for military personnel and their families.
In 1980, Larry and Helen returned to the United States and built a home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among Larry's volunteer endeavors over the next thirty-two years in Santa Fe, he became the Executive Director of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and then organized and served as the first President of the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico which provides opportunities for academic enrichment for teachers and encourages positive change in New Mexico classrooms.
Larry was preceded by his wife, Helen, on November 15, 2003, and is survived by his loving family, including four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Larry touched innumerable lives through his family, his businesses and his teaching, and he and they were enriched by that experience. He will live in our hearts forever.