Saturday, January 4, 2020
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM CST
Racine Yacht Club
1 Barker Street
Life Story / Obituary
Stephen Edward Wheeler passed away on November 26, 2019. The Old Man was a very special person—wonderful son, worthy friend and considerably above average father. Here are some facts about The Old Man that you may not know:
He was born in 1943 to Edward and Ellen Wheeler in Racine and grew up on Green Street.
As a kid, he spent most of his time on the beach, in the water or at the zoo—leaving the house at 8am and returning just shortly after dark.
He sailed Lake Michigan from an early age, was a life long member of the Racine Yacht Club and raced the Chicago Mackinac many times.
He graduated from UW Madison with dual degrees in Beer Drinking and Engineering.
4 days before his 26th birthday, he received his draft notice in the mail. He often said that a little old lady maliciously cackled as she licked the envelope sentencing him to his certain doom.
Ever the athlete, The Old Man pulled his groin in basic training and was sent to Yuma Arizona to go blow things up as opposed to getting sent to a jungle to in fact, get blown up.
As an engineer for IBM in Rochester, MN he worked on one of the very first floppy disc drives and held so many patents that they gave him a very nice award of a Seiko Watch (which he wore proudly).
His finest invention will always be his intelligent, dashingly handsome and intensely clever son, Anthony Wheeler (Also the author of this obituary).
Steve was an incredible model maker, focusing most of his efforts in the last 20 years to reproducing boats that sailed on the great lakes. He was incredibly fond of the boats that Racine Boat Company designer Fred Martin designed in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and faithfully recreated many of Fred’s boats as models. He was very proud to help keep the legacy of the local boat designer alive.
As a model builder he participated in many Midwestern Model Ships and Boat Contests hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. He won so many awards that he once received an anonymous letter from another participant suggesting that Steve should just accept he was a Master Model Maker and step aside so others could win awards. The Old Man did not step aside but did frame the letter and proudly displayed it next to the many, many, many awards that the other person didn’t win.
The Old Man had an incredible John Wayne impression (or atleast seemed pretty incredible to any six year old he delivered it to).
He wore some of the same socks prior to his demise as he did when he was a senior in high school. These socks were so very well made that company went out of business because no one ever needed to buy more pairs.
He claimed that tomatoes were poisonous (note: this has not been verified).
The Old Man often complained that there had been nothing worth watching on the television since 1952.
One year for Christmas, he gave his most wonderful son a flipbook of photos from his colonoscopy (in fact, inside his colonoscopy).
He was a world class flirt, making friends wherever he went.
He never willingly drank a glass of water in his life.
There is a lot more to share about Steve but I think you get the idea that he was a very, very special person.
A celebration of the loveable luddite will be held at the Racine Yacht Club, 1 Barker Street, on January 4th from 1-4pm. All are invited to swap stories and tell lies about The Old Man.