Donald G. Wheeler
ONEONTA — Donald G. Wheeler, 86, of Oneonta, passed away Friday, June 7, 2013, at the Albany Medical Center, Albany.
Son of Ralph A. and Mina Eldred Wheeler. Born in Oneonta on March 15, 1927. He attended Oneonta High School. Don, joined the Navy at age 17 and served on the USS Chester from 1944 to 1946. His ship was one of the first ships to arrive at Iwo Jima.
Following his discharge he worked for the Oneonta Dairy Company. He may have been the last living resident to deliver milk in the city of Oneonta with horse and wagon. He was employed by Meridale Jersey Farms delivering throughout the area. He worked at Hartwick College for 23 years running the Duplicating Center, Switchboard and Mailroom, and retired in 1987.
Don met the love of his life, Loreen Gilmour, in 1946, shortly after leaving the service. They were married in Bloomville Methodist Church on July 26, 1949, and have spent over 63 wonderful years together. They had two children, James and Linda. James was killed during active duty in Vietnam in 1970.
Don enjoyed outdoor activities like fishing and boating. He and Loreen have many happy memories of times spent traveling with their RVs. Don and Loreen were both avid bowlers and continued bowling with the Elm Park Bowling Team right up until the end of 2012.
Don was well-known for his skills in woodworking and making items from stained glass. He crafted much of the furniture and lamps in their home and donated many of his creations to the Elm Park Methodist Church craft bazaar.
Don was the president of the Men’s Club, member of the Administrative Board and served as a trustee at the church. Don was a member of the F&M Mason’s Association for over 60 years.
Don was president of the Plains Cemetery for many years and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity helping to build several of the homes in Otsego County. He also worked part-time for Bookhout Funeral Home after his retirement.
Don is survived by his wife, Loreen; and his daughter, Linda Natale; two grandsons, James and Kevin Natale; and four great-grandchildren, Alyssa, Christopher, Haley and Khloe. He is also survived by two nieces, Eda (Dennis) Dorosky and Debra (Fabio) DeFrancesantonio; one nephew, Ralph Wheeler; several great-nieces and -nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents; his son, James; brother, Harold; and sister, Evelyn.
Calling hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oneonta. There will be a Masonic Service at 6:30 p.m.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in the Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta with the Rev. Olu Harding, officiating. Burial will follow in the Oneonta Plains Cemetery.
Memorial donations in Don’s memory may be made to either the Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or to the Alzheimer’s Association, Northeastern NY Chapter, The Meadows, Suite 2, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
To light a candle or send an online condolence please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home of Oneonta.