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TACAMO Fallen Veteran - Richard "Wheats" Wheatley, VQ3 & VQ4

September 2, 1954 - September 18, 2021

Richard (Ric) Wheatley, of Plainwell, Michigan, passed away on September 18, 2021, at Bronson Methodist Hospital’s ICU. His wife Delia (Dee) was at his side.

Ric was born on September 2, 1954, in Osaka, Japan to Lt. Col. Melford Wheatley and Marcine (Schuerer) Wheatley. This was also his grandmother Mable Wheatley’s birthday.

Ric graduated from Mt. Clemens High School and later from Western Michigan University. Ric then attended and graduated from the Navy’s Officer Candidate Program located in Pensacola, FL. in May of 1982. On December 18, 1982, Ric joined in marriage to Delia Jones at the Chapel on Selfridge Air National Gard Base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

While stationed at Patuxent River, Maryland, Squadron VQ4 flying C-130’s, Ric and Dee welcomed two children into their lives, Jameson in 1984 and Keleigh in 1987.

In 1992 Ric left active duty with the Navy and joined a Navy Reserve Unit at Selridge ANG. In 1994 Ric was hired by Atlas Air, Inc. a worldwide cargo flight operation flying 727’s and 747’s. Ric continued both reserve flying and full time Atlas flying until he retired as a Captain USNR in the Navy after 35 years of service. That was in 2010. In 2019, after 25 years with Atlas he retired at age 65. But shortly after he began working as a contractor-sitting at a desk with monitors instead of flying the big planes.

Ric loved to read, especially historical books. He loved music and sports. While still flying with Atlas he had the opportunity to fly the U of M Wolverines to 2 college bowl games!

Although very busy during Jameson and Keleigh’s high school years, Ric did make efforts to drive to cheerleading and hockey competitions and games, often in the same day over 2 ½ hours apart.

On January 25, 2009, Ric became a grandfather to Connor Melford Wheatley, daughter Keleigh’s son. The next 12 ½ years have been full of love and activity to say the least. Best of friends sharing bike rides, hiking, fishing, snow sking and tubing, kayaking are just some of their adventures together.

Ric was predeceased by his parents, Melford and Marcine Wheatley, his sister Kyle Williams, and his brother -in-law Jerry Thayer. Surviving are his wife Delia, son Jameson, daughter Keleigh and grandson Connor. Also surviving are his sister Candace Thayer, brothers Dennis (Dottie), David (Lynn), Michael, Eric (Maureen) Wheatley, and brother-in-law George Williams.

Cremation has taken place per Ric’s wishes.

There will be a gathering of family and friends at the Lake Doster Clubhouse on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at 1 p.m. Come share a story of how you know Ric.

While visiting Richard's tribute page please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory with the family. Link:!/TributeWall

The Wheatley family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes Marshall-Gren Chapel, 120 S. Woodhams Street, Plainwell, MI 49080. 269-685-5881.


Reported from Vern Lochausen:

Richard "Wheats" Wheatley. He lost his 3 week battle with COVID. VQ3 and VQ4 Inital Cadre. PEP boy program to fly with Air Force KC-135s before E-6 cadre. Responsible for 'the Speed of Wheats." Flew for worldwide cargo airlines. TCVA condolences and prayers to Dee and Wheatley family.

TCVA extends its sympathy and prayer for peace to Richard "Wheats" Wheatley's family and friends during this time of the passing. 


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