FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Carol Wheeler

Former Sitkan Carol Phillips Wheeler, of Kelso, Wash., died at age 71 on Jan. 23, 2012, due to complications from a recent surgery
Carol was born to Walter and Lillian (Berg) Philips on Aug. 25, 1940, in Tacoma, Wash. She and her sister Linda grew up in Tacoma surrounded by a loving and rambunctious Norwegian family.
Carol graduated from Stadium High School in 1958 and received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Puget Sound in 1962. In July 1962, she married Bob Wheeler, the man she would spend her life with.
As Bob’s career in the paper industry took the family from Washington to North Carolina, New Brunswick, Alaska, Oregon, Michigan, and back to Washington, Carol spent the years setting up loving homes for Bob and their three children. Carol was Bob’s wife, mentor, and confidante. In each place, they were known for their hospitality and community involvement.
They lived in Sitka in the 1980s, while Bob was a manager of Alaska Pulp Co.
Carol’s passion in life was music, a love which began when she was 6. She carried this love to the numerous communities where she lived, and in Sitka she was involved for several years with the Sitka Summer Music Festival. Carol called it “chamber music in the most beautiful of settings.”
In Iron Mountain, Mich., Carol used her organizational talents to get the Pine Mountain Music Festival up and running. Opera and chamber music performances were a great reward for her work; Carol would glow with the thought of it up to the time of her death.
Bob and Carol bought their dream property in 1999 and upon Bob’s retirement in 2001 they moved to Kelso in the Rose Valley area. With a bubbling brook and cedar trees in a park-like setting, the property gave great comfort and respite to Bob and Carol after their many years of work and travel. The grandchildren have many precious memories of visiting their “Orange Grandma” (for her flaming red hair) at their forest home.
Bob died in July 2010 and Carol’s life was never quite the same. She was called to his side on a Monday evening with her sister, Linda, present to hold her hand. Bob and Carol will never be forgotten by those who knew them and they are deeply missed by their family and friends.
Carol is survived by her sister and best friend, Linda (Wayne) Nelson of Rainier, Ore.; daughters Angela Wheeler of Wilsonville, Ore., and Melanie (Shawn) MacPherson of Camas, Wash.; son Marcus Wheeler of Kelso; and grandchildren James Cornforth, Margaret MacPherson, and Chancellor MacPherson.
Also surviving are her brothers-in-law Barney (Mary) Wheeler and David (Margaret) Wheeler; nieces  and nephews  Rex Wheeler, David Fisher, Stan Nelson, Beth Nelson, Amy Coleman, Wade Wheeler, Ira Wheeler,  David   Wheeler; and Wesley Wheeler.; and cousins, Judy (Berg) Hoban,  Connie (Berg) Heard, Marcia (Berg) Norris, Dell Berg, Christine (Berg) Kreuger and Steve Berg.
All who knew Carol consider themselves blessed to have heard her infectious laugh and experience her irascible spirit, tempered with the soft edge of a loving and caring mother, wife, grandmother, and friend.
A celebration of life ceremony is planned for later this year. Donations in Carol’s honor may be made to Stadium High School Orchestra: Matthew Underwood, Director; Stadium High School Orchestra; 111 North E. Street; Tacoma, WA 98403

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