Richard Randall WheelerJuly 30, 1984 ~ August 19, 2015 (age 31)
Richard Randall Wheeler, 31, was born in South Haven, Michigan on July 30, 1984 to parents Karen Morey (Brush) and the late Tim Wheeler. He leaves behind his wife Celeste Wheeler (Gruber), parents Karen and Randy Morey, and brothers Robert Wheeler, Jacob Morey and Nathan Morey. He married his wife, Celeste, in December of 2012. They moved to Wenatchee, WA in April of 2014 to pursue Rick’s fire career.
Fighting fires was in his blood. He was a fourth generation firefighter. He caught the fire bug in his early twenties shortly after leaving Americorps. Rick held many seasonal Fire positions with the US Forest Service. For several years he worked for the Tatanka Hotshots of South Dakota. In between seasons, Rick would return to Michigan to attend Grand Valley State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management in the spring of 2013. He planned on using his degree and seasonal work experience to obtain a permanent position with the forest service.
After moving to Wenatchee, he worked on an initial attack fire crew at the Wenatchee River Ranger District out of Leavenworth, WA for the 2014 season. For the 2015 season, he was working for the Methow Valley Ranger District engine crew based in Winthrop, WA.
Rick loved anything to do with the outdoors. He was an avid fisherman, hunter, and hiker. He belonged to a church hiking group, and was known for placing extra weight in his pack as a challenge and to keep in shape for the upcoming fire seasons. He would always push himself to be the best he could be.
As a person who lived in each moment, Rick will be remembered for his smile, laughter, and energy. He hated sitting around and was always trying to learn something new, and was always finding new hobbies.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home in South Haven. Memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday at the First Congregational Church in South Haven with Rev. Jeffrey S. Dick officiating. In lieu of flowers, the Wheeler family asks contributions be made in Rick’s memory to Wildland Firefighter Foundation 2049 Airport Way, Boise ID 83705,National Fallen Firefighters Foundation:P.O. Drawer 498,, Emmitsburg MD 21727, or the Richard Wheeler 1st Responder Scholarship: Grand Valley State University University Development 301 Fulton Street W, P.O. Box 2005, Grand Rapids MI 49501-2005.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
2049 Airport Way, Boise ID 83705
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation:
P.O. Drawer 498,, Emmitsburg MD 21727
Richard Wheeler 1st Responder Scholarship: Grand Valley State University University Development
301 Fulton Street W, P.O. Box 2005, Grand Rapids MI 49501-2005