AUGUSTA – Clyde Lawrence Wheeler passed away Dec. 21, 2009, at Maine General Medical Center, Augusta. During the past several weeks, he had been cared for there and at Inland Hospital, and was surrounded by the love and support of family and friends until he slipped peacefully into eternity. He was born April 19, 1924, in Chesterville, son of Clyde Francis Wheeler and Nina Meree (Davis) Wheeler. He grew up on the family farm and attended schools in Chesterville and Farmington, graduating from Farmington High School in 1941. He graduated from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry. In 1950, he graduated from Suffolk University Law School with Bachelor of Laws degree. His education at the University of Maine was interrupted by his enlistment in the U.S. Army Air Corps in February of 1943. He was a navigator in B-25 strafers and skip bombers in the Southwest Pacific where he flew 54 missions from New Guinea, Morotai and Luzon. Clyde received the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with six battle stars, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and one bronze star, and a Pacific Campaign Ribbon with four battle stars. He participated in battles and campaigns in New Guinea, South Philippines, Bismarck Arch, Western Pacific and China. His unit, the 38th Bombardment Group, won a distinguished citation for its attack against a Japanese reinforcement convoy at Ormoc Bay, Philippines. The 38th Bombardment Group also was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation during the Philippine campaign. After receiving an honorable discharge as a lieutenant, he returned to the University of Maine, October 1945. He married Eleanor Streeter, Dec. 16, 1945, at First Congregational Church, Farmington. They lived in Orono and Woburn, Mass., while Clyde completed college and law school. Clyde and Eleanor were happily married for 62 years until her death April 14, 2008. In 1950, Clyde was admitted to practice law in Maine. They settled in Waterville, where he was employed by Home Insurance Co. as claims manager and trial attorney for the next 20 years. In 1970, he founded his law firm, Clyde L. Wheeler, P.A. The firm grew to what is now Wheeler & Arey, P.A. Recognized as one of Maine’s prominent trial lawyers, he tried cases in state and federal courts during his distinguished legal career which spanned more than 40 years. Clyde and Eleanor retired in 1991, and built a new home, Counselor’s Bluff on Long Pond, Rome, Maine where they enjoyed retirement, entertaining friends, traveling to the British Isles and many other activities. Clyde was a member of Waterville Bar Association, Kennebec Bar Association and Maine State Bar Association. He was a life member of Wilton Lodge of Masons. He was elected to the board of education in Waterville, served on the civil service board and the board of the Waterville Area Boys and Girls Club. He served on the board of Humane Society of Waterville and his support and counsel were instrumental in the construction of their new shelter, which sits off the Webb Road on Wheeler Way. He was honored as Outstanding Alumnus of 1991 from Farmington High School. He was involved in several school organizations as his children were growing up, coaching Little League baseball, officiating for the Dolphin Swim Team, serving as president of Waterville Football Boosters and various other groups. He is survived by one son, three daughters and their families: David L. Wheeler of Stamford, Conn.; Catherine Robjent and her husband, James Robjent, of New London, N.H., and their children, Tom and Larry and his wife, Jess; Carolyn Wheeler and her husband, David Courtemanch, of Mount Vernon and their children, Alyson and Daniel; Sarah W. Sachs and her husband, Alden Sachs, of Augusta and their children, Brian and Alayna. Clyde leaves his sister, Marjorie Bainton of East Greenwich, R.I.; his sister-in-law, Joyce Roberts of Bailey Island; a niece, Carol Howard; nephews, George William Bainton III and David Blanchard; and two great-grandchildren, Ella and Peter Robjent. Clyde is also survived by several nieces, cousins and friends. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his sister, Elizabeth Blanchard; and brothers-in-law, Fred Blanchard, George Bainton and Harold Roberts. Clyde’s family thanks his caregivers, Dr. Kevin White, Dr. Roland Knausenberger, the physician and nursing staff at Inland Hospital and Maine General Medical Center, Peg Soucy, Eldercare Planning and Solutions, and his home care providers from Helping Hands and Mainely Eldercare. Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at First Congregational Church, Eustis Parkway, Waterville. There will be no public visiting hours. Interment at a later date will be at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Augusta. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to Waterville Area Humane Society, 100 Webb Road, Waterville, ME 04901. Arrangements by Redington Funeral Home, Waterville. “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings. Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sunsplit clouds-and done a hundred things. You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delicious, burning blue, I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle flew. And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand, and touched the face of God.” – John Gillespie Magee Jr.
CLYDE LAWRENCE WHEELER
Posted Dec. 27, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.