MISSOULA — William J. Wheeler, Jr., son of Blanche (Lanoue) and William J. Wheeler, Sr., passed away peacefully at sunset Sept. 1, 2019.
Bill, as he was known by many, was born on March 24, 1948, in Missoula at the old St. Patrick Hospital on Broadway. He was the second child among 13 siblings and the first son tucked in between six sisters.
Bill attended school in Missoula and graduated from Loyola in 1965. He grew up on the outskirts of Missoula on the family ranch. He, along with his sisters and brothers, took on the many chores and activities that were required of life growing up on the farm. They worked long hours and in all kinds of weather. Bill’s long-term commitment to his parents and lessons of hard work from childhood followed him throughout his life.
Bill was a rancher, farmer, builder, miner, manager, overseer, musician, orator, construction operator, spouse, father, papa and the man who seemed to have mastered many trades as they were dealt to him. He was always willing to jump in with both feet and “get ‘er done.” His commitment to his farm and ranch was his passion. Bill had a natural ear for music. He played piano at a very young age and spent many years singing and playing guitar to friends and family.
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In 1970, Bill married Yvonne (Peg) Angwin, and from that 50 year union came four children followed by nine grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William J. Wheeler, Sr., Blanche Wheeler, his infant sister, Bridget, his half brother, Paul and his grandson, Saber David Wheeler.
Bill is survived by his wife Peg; daughter Rachel (Terry) Mederios and their children Trevor and Kaila; son William (Clara) Wheeler and their children Abigail and Liam; son Chris (Belinda) Wheeler and their children Kadee, Connor, and Olivia; son Sean (Sarah Carson) Wheeler and their children Soren and Silas; siblings Mary, Emily, Fran, Kathy, Michelle, Julie, Tom, Mike, Joe, Dorothy, John, Pete, half sister Billie, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held at the Fold of the Messiah in Tarkio on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or St. Labre Indian School.