Lester W. Wheatley
Lester Wheatley, 99, of Elk Horn, and formerly of Marne, passed away Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn.
The son of Joseph and Ruby Amanda (Pedersen) Wheatley, he was born October 8, 1915, in rural Marne, Cass County, Iowa. He was raised in a family of two sisters and one brother. As a child, he attended Brighton #1 and later Atlantic High School. Active on the family farm from early childhood, he loved to tell of their adventures driving cattle on horseback, having the road blocked for 2 miles, and loading the livestock on a train to Chicago.
He was united in marriage to Mildred Petersen on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1935, in the KMA Radio studio, broadcast live. They enjoyed frequent polka dances on Saturday nights and entertaining friends at their home. In the 1960's, they earned their airplane pilots' licenses together. They moved to Illinois, where they sold real estate, but Iowa was home and they returned in the summer of 1976. Lester played music by ear and at one point bought musical instruments for all the kids in hopes of starting a band, but that never worked out. Mildred passed away September 26, 1982.
On January 22, 1983, he married Elleen Eddy in Perry, Iowa at his daughter, Juda's home. Together they enjoyed local flying adventures and dancing. They spent weeks at a time visiting family in Florida and Texas. Lester enjoyed playing cards, and he and Elleen hosted weekly card parties with many friends. Whenever family was together a card game was a must, 17 point-pitch being a favorite.
Farming was his life, and his children remember him taking the thrashing machine from one farm to another and the hiding of new equipment in the alleyway of the corn crib. For a short time he worked for Madison Silos and Clay Farm Equipment. The land was his passion whether it was farming or his flower gardens. He was very proud of his home and the landscaping that surrounded it, and took countless golf cart rides around the property taking in its beauty. The gardens and trees were so beautiful that they were featured in Hy-Vee magazine. As he got older and couldn't fly himself, he would still mow a runway at his home.
Lester had an interest in music. His musical talents on the saxophone prompted him to organize a band, locally known as the "The Four County Players." They played at many locations around central Iowa. He would say, "We are going to the nursing home to play for the old people." Even though the members of the band were usually older than their audience.
Lester is survived by his wife of 32 years, Elleen; son, Gerald (Sally) Wheatley of Atlantic, IA; daughters, Jone (friend, Dick Richie) Lay of Westminster, CO, Juda (Richard) Saemisch of Perry, IA, and Jolene Allen of Cambridge, IL; step-son, Monte (Cindy) Smith of Independence, MO; 18 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Donna Wheatley of Atlantic, IA; brother-in-law, Wayne King of Des Moines; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Mildred; sons, Wayne and Jerry Wheatley; brother, Boyd (Martha) Wheatley; sisters, Dorothy (Hilmer) Molgaard and Mardelle King; sons-in-law, Clay Allen and Larry Lay; and great-granddaughter, Faith McLaren.
Visitation with the family will be from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Monday, July 6, 2015 at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 7, 2015, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Atlantic. A luncheon will be held immediately following the service at the church. Burial will follow the luncheon at Brighton Township Cemetery in Marne.
Memorials may be made to the Elk Horn Fire and Rescue or the Atlantic Animal Shelter.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Lester's family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com
IN REMEMBRANCE OF
October 8, 1915
Rural Marne, Cass County, Iowa
ENTERED INTO REST
June 30, 2015
Elk Horn, Iowa
At the age of 99 years, 8 months, 22 days
10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 7, 2015
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church ~ Atlantic, Iowa
Pastor Grant Van Lishout
“In The Garden” by Congregation
“Amazing Grace” by John Kline
Rex and Ginger Thomas
Brighton Township Cemetery
The family invites you to join them for lunch in the fellowship hall
immediately following the funeral service.
The family has suggested that memorials be made for the
Elk Horn Fire and Rescue or the Atlantic Animal Shelter.