John E. Wheelden Sr.
John E. Wheelden Sr.
VERNON — John E. Wheelden Sr., 87, died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at his home in Vernon.
He was born in Brattleboro on June 1, 1925, the son of Stuart and Josephine (Garrity) Wheelden Sr. and attended school at St. Michael’s Catholic School. He was known to friends and family as ‘‘Probie’’ or ‘‘Wheely.’’
In 1942, at age 17, he joined the Merchant Marine. After leaving the Merchant Marine he enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 27, 1944, and was a member of Company F, 10th Infantry Regiment.
During his service he received several medals and ribbons, including a Purple Heart (January 1945), and was honorably discharged on May 9, 1946. He continued his military service as a member of the Army National Guard until he retired in 1985.
Mr. Wheelden joined the Brattleboro Fire Department in 1946, holding the positions of firefighter, lieutenant, fire inspector and captain before being promoted to assistant fire chief in March 1985. He retired from career staff in 1987, but remained active with the fire department as a member of the Call Force until 2009. He was also a member of the volunteer departments in Vernon and Wilmington, and the Zephyrhills, Fla., Fire Department.
He also served as a member of the Brattleboro Police Department. He was elected as Brattleboro first constable in 1958 and served his last term in 2001.
He married Patricia (Knapp) Wheelden on Feb. 19, 1972, in Brattleboro.
For many years the couple enjoyed spending their winters at their home in Zephyhills, Fla.
Mr. Wheelden was an active, lifetime member of the Elks, VFW, American Legion, and Eagles Club. He enjoyed travel, time at his camp in Wilmington, hunting, fishing, walking and bird watching.
He is survived by his two sons, Stuart Wheelden III of Hinsdale, N.H., and John Wheelden Jr. of Vernon; his two daughters, Joanne Plansker of Hinsdale, N.H., and Carol Ann Moore of Dummerston; a stepdaughter, Mary Snyder of Enfield Conn.; 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Katherine “Tuppy” Snead of Waynesboro, Va., and Mary Ann Wood of Brattleboro; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his wife in 2008, his parents, a brother, Stuart Wheelden Jr., a sister, Margaret “Betty” Behilo, and a granddaughter.
Arrangements are being handled by Ker-Westerlund Funeral Home in Brattleboro, where calling hours will be Friday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Dec. 15, at noon at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Brattleboro, with a graveside service and burial to follow at Morningside Cemetery.
Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of his life after the services to be held at the Elks in Brattleboro.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Brattleboro Fire Department Benefit Association or the Vernon Fire Association Inc.