1927 - 2013
Chris Wheeler was born on a farm near Freewater, Dec. 30, 1927, to Virgie and Charles Wheeler. That is where he met the love of his life, Mildred Pitzer. They were married in Milton-Freewater on Dec. 23, 1949. Together they raised four children: Christi, Sharon, Michael and Jared in Salem.
As a dedicated public servant, Chris quickly advanced to state engineer. Initially appointed by Gov. Mark Hatfield in 1962, Chris held this position for four terms supporting two governors during his 33 year career with the State of Oregon.
Chris loved his home state and helped shape the agricultural, hydroelectric and recreational capabilities enjoyed today in its lakes, rivers and streams.
Chris’ many passions included hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, photography, motorcycling, water-skiing and flying. He also loved a good “no trump” with his bridge club and shooting the moon at least once during every hearts session with his kids. Whatever the sport, Chris most enjoyed the opportunity to be with family and friends. Later in life, he relished all opportunities to see his beloved Beavers beat the Ducks in football.
As a father and husband, Chris was involved in his children’s activities at school and at play. Always one to have a point of view and share it with others, Chris often told his kids: “I’m not stubborn, I’m just firm-minded”.
Chris passed away peacefully on Jan. 1, 2013, after a long battle with Huntington’s Disease.
He is survived by his wife Mil; his four children and their families; his grandchildren; great-grandchild; his brother, Ivan; and extended Wheeler family.
Chris lived his life to the fullest, doing things his way, with a smile and wit that we all loved. May he enjoy the same in heaven. I love you, Dear, and we love you, Daddy.
A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date in Milton-Freewater. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to U of W Medicine Advancement, Huntington’s Disease Research Fund, P.O. Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195, or Willamette Valley Hospice, 1015 3rd St NW, Salem, OR, 97304 and online at wvh.org.