Services have yet to be scheduled at this time.
Dale Kenneth Wheeler was born on August 10, 1937 to Elizabeth Pfeifer Wheeler and Kenneth Eugene Wheeler, in Rosedale, Queens, and died on August 1, 2022 so just 9 days short of his 85th birthday. If Dale were here, he would say he was in his 86th year and not far off from his 9th decade!
Dale was the eldest of 4 children, with his brothers Keith and Barry and sister Lyn. For the Wheeler’s, family was very important and the siblings were close and loved nothing more than partying with each other. They had many great times at family gatherings in New Milford, CT, on Candlewood Lake and then later, vacationing with each other in far flung places.
Dale’s parents recognized his intelligence at an early age. His parents, Kenneth, an engineer at American Bell Telephone Company and his mother, Betty, an Executive Administrative Assistant at Bulova Watch Company learned early that Dale was unusual. Even though his family lived in Queens, Dale attended the competitive Brooklyn Technical High School and travelled far each day on various subways to get to school, which he later reminded his children of frequently.
Dale went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. Dale’s first job was with General Electric Company in the Berkshires. It was there that he and other young engineers at GE would frequent parties of the nursing students at St Luke’s. At a party at the boarding house where they lived, “The Castle” in Lenox, MA, Dale was lucky enough to meet a nursing princess, Juliette Bernadette Josephine Roy.
Dale and Juliette met in 1960, were married in February, 1961 and quickly were expecting their first baby in January, 1962, Sara Lyn. Three other children followed, Alyson Beth, in 1964, Jill Elizabeth in 1966 and Thomas Jefferson in 1969. Dale earned an MBA at the University of Bridgeport while working full-time and having 3 young daughters. He also was awarded a prestigious GE Management certification in the same time period. Juliette had a career that has spanned over 60 years as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, which had her working long hours and frequently being on-call. Dale was a very hands-on parent (and an unusual father) in that he always made time for his children and often times coached their teams and volunteered for the organizations such as the Tarboro Swim Club.
Dale’s work had his family living in many varied places: Louisville, KY, Schenectady, NY, Trumball and Newington, CT, San Juan, PR, Tarboro, NC, Greenville, SC and Baltimore, MD. The Wheeler Family really were Rolling Stones! Dale worked at three major corporations: General Electric, Black and Decker and Singer (owned by Sears.) Dale often traveled to Europe for work and would come home to his family and marvel at the amazing places he had gone like Lake Como, Italy, Germany and Great Britain.
Dale’s life work was designing power tools and is credited with nearly 40 patents. His work centered around making power tools more efficient, like the keyless chuck and better hedge trimmers. He frequently gave power tools as gifts and always had a story of how his work had benefited the particular tool.
Dale was extremely proud of his children. He was famous for telling strangers that his kids were such good swimmers that they were headed to the Olympics! Tall tales, for sure, but we smile now for we know how much he loved us and believed in us.
Dale and his siblings loved the outdoors and were life-long athletes. Dale played baseball growing up, and he also enjoyed a variety of other sports. In his adult years, this love of sports translated to Dale discovering the jogging craze of the 70s and he would often go for healthy runs. Dale was also a competitive tennis player and he loved nothing better than going to the public courts in Tarboro and playing pickup tennis with anyone there, especially the teenagers on the Tarboro High tennis team. Dale’s children witnessed this love of sports and all were athletes in their own rite, swimming competitively, and playing: soccer, basketball, lacrosse and tennis.
Dale was also an avid music lover. Dale and Juliette’s vinyl collection turned into an impressive CD collection. Music was usually playing from their stereo in Fallston, and was piped out to the pool area and back porch where Dale spent the time that he was not tinkering. He loved Big Band and swing music, Anne Murray, Glen Campbell, and Trini Lopez, The Kingston Trio and Professor Longhair. Dale and Juliette were also beautiful dancers and really ruled the dance floor. Dale would often complain that no one really danced anymore, they just jiggled around, which of course, he was right about.
In his later years, Dale continued to design tools and other contraptions. He didn’t like to use CAD and instead chose to draw his designs on white graph paper with a properly sharpened Ticonderoga. He was an organizational genius and was very happy at his house on the Middle River, near Baltimore, in the shed, working in the yard, or in general, fixing things that were broken.
We would be remiss if we did not mention that Dale (and Juliette) loved following politics and were happy to discuss and debate. They were also amazing philanthropists and contributed to literally hundreds of causes whether it was the Rails to Trails, orphanages, veteran’s organizations, etc. They did (and do) consider themselves to be Patriots and are proud Americans.
Dale is survived by the princess and his wife of over 60 years, Juliette; his children, Dr. Sara Wheeler Reichard and husband, Dr. Kirk Reichard, Alyson Wheeler Llerandi and partner, Peter Skutnik, Jill Wheeler and Thomas Wheeler; 9 grandchildren, Ashlyn D’Andrea and husband, Joe D’Andrea, Grayson and Spencer Llerandi; Emily, Samantha and Alexander Reichard, Juliette Guillaume and Parker and Patrick Wheeler; and one great grandchild, Joseph Michael D’Andrea.
Dale is also survived by his sister, Lyn Kutzelman and husband George Kutzelman, sisters-in-law, Pam Wheeler and Chris Wheeler; nieces and nephews Keith Wheeler (wife Heather), Kim Valzania (husband Mark Valzania), Keri Wheeler (partner Steve Pelton), Julie Kutzelman Pierrat (husband Marc Pierrat) and Stacey Kutzelman Hinton (husband Eric Hinton) plus 8 great nieces and nephews. Dale is also survived by his sister-in-law, Lucille Horton, and 14 nieces and nephews and more great nieces and nephews than you can count in the Roy family.
Dale was predeceased by his beloved parents, Betty and Kenneth Wheeler, and brothers Keith and Barry Wheeler and his niece, Robbie Sausville. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Rails-to-Trails, donate to your favorite National Park or use the money to take dance lessons 😊