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Della Josephine Wheeler Obituary

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Della Josephine Wheeler, age 97, peacefully passed away in Fate, Texas on March 12, 2020. She was born on April 24, 1922, in Lynn, Massachusetts, to her parents John and Josephine Brown, who had immigrated to the United States from Lithuania. Della’s family-owned and operated a grocery store and bar in Lynn for much of her childhood. She graduated from Lynn Classical High School, where she was a baton majorette in the marching band. On August 22, 1943, she married a young sailor, Robert (Bob) Meral Wheeler at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lynn. Della continued to live in Lynn with her parents and new son, Bobby until husband Bob returned from WW2. Thereafter, they moved to Pontiac, Michigan, and later to Drayton Plains, Michigan, where they had two more children and raised their family. During Della and Bob’s retirement years, they enjoyed living in White Lake, Michigan.

Della and Bob enjoyed the Drayton Plains community very much. They found comfort in worshiping at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Waterford, and all three children are graduates of the parish school. They owned and operated Lakeland Barbershop on the corner of Walton and Sashabaw Roads for decades. Eventually, when the children were in school, Della attended McCauley Nursing School in Pontiac where she received her Licensed Practical Nurse degree. She was employed by St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Pontiac for many years, and then a nursing home in Lake Orion. Della and Bob loved watching sports together, especially the Tigers and Lions. They also found enjoyment playing Euchre, bowling on several leagues and attending many family get-togethers. During winter months, they traveled south to watch their son, Jim, at Detroit Tigers spring training in Lakeland, Florida. Bob passed away on February 7, 1982, after almost 40 years of marriage. Della re-entered the workforce and found part-time employment in the management office at White Lake Mobile Home Park, where she remained for many years. She eventually moved to Monroe, Michigan to be close to daughter, Carole, and her family. Reluctant at first to move from the White Lake area, Della found wonderful friends in Monroe and had many happy years there. Following her daughter and son-in-law’s retirements in 2014, they all moved to Fate, Texas.

Throughout the early years, Della was especially passionate about spending time with her children and grandchildren and traveled often to Minnesota and California to spend time with them. Della was preceded in death by her parents John and Josephine Brown, husband Robert Meral Wheeler, and son Robert Kenneth Wheeler. She is survived by her brother John Brown; daughter-in-law Dianne (Robert) Wheeler; children: Carole (Rick) Snider, James (Patricia) Wheeler; grandchildren: Carrie (Chris), Bobby (Jessica), Brooke (Jason), Blake (Sam), and Courtney; great-grandchildren: Eric and Ian, Bryce and Ben, Liam, Amelia and Lily, Louie, Leni and Mase; and niece Kathleen Brown.

A memorial service is being planned by the children, to be held at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Waterford, Michigan, for a date to be determined. At the end of Della’s time on earth, Hospice Select of Rockwall, TX provided much-needed care and comfort, especially VP Stan Britton, Nurse Shalise, and Aide Carnessia “Neecy”. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mom’s memory to Dementia Studies Foundation, Inc., 8198 Walnut Hill Lane, Jackson 100, Dallas, TX 75231.

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