Brother Robert Wheeler died on Monday, February 13th in Thomas, WV, from complications of cancer. Born into a navy family in Quincy, Massachusetts on January 1, 1949, Robert Lawrence Wheeler was the eldest son of Lawrence Abel and Isabel Lucille (Lake) Wheeler. The family moved from Palo Alto, CA, where his father was attending graduate school at Stanford University, to Newport, RI, Washington, DC, Viña del Mar, Chile, South America and McLean, VA, undoubtedly leading to his love of travel.
He graduated from McLean High School, where he made many longtime friends. He attended University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, studying oceanography and theater, and the École Internationale de Mime in France, studying mime (he never spoke of it). He studied flamenco guitar in Spain. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR with a degree in English. Working as a ranch hand in Montana, led him to a degree in Range Management from Montana State University in Bozeman.
He worked for Jacklin Seed Co. in Post Falls, ID, TRW, Inc. in Virginia and taught English as a second language (ESL) in Maryland.
Always on a spiritual journey, this quest led him to take vows in the Catholic Church as a religious hermit. He worked many years for Catholic Solitudes of Hebbronville, TX, France, Mexico and Littleton, WV. He enjoyed helping out at the Littleton Assumption Food Pantry with Rex and Elsie Lake and Samra Cunningham and crew.
Timmy Poling and Brother Robert built a hermitage on the top of a secluded mountain in Tucker
County where he was able to engage in solitary prayer and meditation.
Brother Robert spent the last, and best, years of his life in Thomas, WV. Assisting first Father Timothy Grassi, then Father Martin Smay, he lived in the schoolhouse of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, attended Mass, pursued his prayer life, and tried to be of use to his community.
Brother Robert was a kind and humble soul who has gone to await the Lord’s return. He had no fear of death and passed peacefully.
The family is grateful for the care and love shown to Brother Robert by Father Smay and the St. Thomas Aquinas community and by the staff of Cortland Acres.
Brother Robert was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Nancy. He is survived by Lindy
Bunch and Bradford Wheeler.
Service will be at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Thomas, WV on Monday, March 13, at
11:00 a.m. with reception to follow.