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Vernon Richard Wheeler, 78

| December 28, 2021 12:00 AM

Vernon Richard Wheeler, 78, passed away unexpectedly Dec. 21, 2021, while peacefully napping at home. Vern was born Aug. 27, 1943, in Kalispell, the youngest of 12 children born to James and Tabitha Wheeler.

After graduating from Flathead High School, Vern joined the Army and served in Vietnam as a cryptographic repairman attaining the rank of specialist fifth class.

When Vern returned to the states, he married his pen pal Judy Elaine Rains in Libby on June 5, 1971, before settling in Denver where they had four children.

While in Denver, Vern earned his associate degree in electrical engineering. In 1979, Vern and Judy returned to Kalispell where Vern worked for Plum Creek as an electrician until his retirement.

Vern and Judy were together until Judy’s death a few days past their 30th wedding anniversary in 2001. Vern once again found love with Sherry Me Spek. A neighbor and high school classmate, they were married Aug. 27, 2005. Together they embarked on the adventure of retirement, living their Montana dream.

Vern stayed busy with his ham radio and singing with the Flathead Valleyaires. Vern was a jack-of-all-trades, a man of many talents and many tales. He lived a full life, and never let anything slow him down. His smile and bass laugh could light up a room. We will miss his laugh, his beautiful voice, his stories, his friendships, and his caring heart.

Vern is preceded in death by his first wife, Judy Wheeler.

He is survived by his wife Sherry Wheeler; his children, David Wheeler, Dawn Roe, Dennis Wheeler, and Dana Harding; his stepchildren Tamara and Tony and 11 grandchildren, Christopher, Tabitha, Ian, Darian, Mason, Jasyn, Rodney, James, Kaelin, Alicia and Ava.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Flathead Valleyaires, Scholarships Fund, or to the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1087.

Graveside services with military honors will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 17, 2022, at Fairview Cemetery. Austin Funeral & Cremation Services in Whitefish is caring for the family.