Michael E. Wheeler

Born: Tue., Apr. 6, 1965
Died: Mon., Apr. 2, 2018


Visitation

12:00 PM Fri., Apr. 13, 2018
Location: Foster Funeral Home & Crematory

6:00 PM Fri., Apr. 13, 2018
Location: St. Ignatius Catholic Church


Funeral Service

11:00 AM Sat., Apr. 14, 2018
Location: St. Ignatius Catholic Church


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PABLO – Michael E. Wheeler, 52, of Pablo, Mt., passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on April 2, 2018, while hiking in the Pistol Creek area near St. Ignatius, MT.  Mike was born in St. Ignatius, MT on April 6, 1965 to Rosalie and John B. Wheeler.  He was born 11 months after his big brother and best friend John.  
Mike grew up at the foot of the Mission Mountains in St. Ignatius with his parents and siblings.  His aunts, uncles and cousins (the Wheeler, Weingart and Orr families) lived just down the road where the kids had a beaten path between the houses.  John, Mike, and cousin Steve were inseparable and had many happy memories growing up together.  
Mike attended school in St. Ignatius, Mt. and graduated in 1983.  Mike was athletic all through school and excelled in wrestling and football. He was an avid outdoorsman.  His passion were his boys, grandkids, hunting and fishing, with a little logging in between to pay for it all.  
If Mike wasn’t out hunting for deer and elk, he was hunting for horns, mushrooms, huckleberries, or you would find him fishing on the Flathead River.  He also enjoyed riding his Harley and going to concerts.  Mike passed away doing what he loved to do most -- spending time in the mountains and was with one of his sons.  Mike was not lost, but missing due to what happened.  He knew the mountains like the back of his hand.  He was where he loved to be doing what he loved to do with his dog by his side.  Heaven has welcomed a very special man and we know his mom and dad were there to greet him with open and loving arms.  
Mike lived each day to the fullest and he was taken from us far too soon.  He especially enjoyed spending time with his boys, nieces and nephews, his brothers, sister, and his favorite dog Archer.  He treated his kids’ friends like they were his own.  Mike did not know a stranger.  He was one of the kindest people you would ever know and rarely had a cross word to say about anyone.  Mike was easy going and liked the simple life.   He always had a smile.  Mike was the greatest dad, brother, papa, uncle, mentor and friend.  He did everything with his boys.  He went to wrestling tournaments, school activities, motocross racing, swimming and floating, fishing and hunting, anything that was outdoors.    
Mike married Barb Crowell July 23, 1990 and from that marriage they had two sons (Colton and Tyler).  Although they divorced after several years, they remained friends throughout the years.  
Mike grew up in a hardworking logging family and worked for his dad right out of high school from 1983 to 1992.  He then worked as a logging equipment operator for his uncle Dennis Wheeler from 1992 to 2005.  
Mike was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005.  Mike was a fighter…tough as nails. He survived cancer and had been in remission since 2006.  During this time, Mike was a single dad and moved in with his brother John and family to help him with his recovery. The family would like to extend a special thanks to Tammie Washburn who was his caregiver while he spent many months in Salt Lake City, Utah undergoing chemo therapy and radiation treatments.  His brother John gave him a bone marrow transplant which subsequently saved Mike’s life and gave him more precious time on this earth to be with his sons.  You can’t imagine the pain and suffering he went through. He told John that his only wish was to live long enough to see his son’s grow up.  And thankfully he was able to do that and raised his boys to be fine young men.  
After Mike’s recovery he went back to work against doctor’s orders and worked for Ronan Power Products, Summit Energy and Harris Construction in North Dakota from 2008 to 2011.  Mike went back to logging and was working as a logging equipment operator for Salmon River Wood Products from 2011 to present.  
Mike is survived by his three sons, Kevin (Lacie) of Missoula, MT, Colton (Sarah) of Ronan, MT and Tyler (McKenzie) of Pablo, MT; brothers John (Cindy) of Arlee, MT, Shane Wheeler of Ashland, MT, sister Jolene Lilly (Alan) of Ronan, MT, brother/cousin Dale (Lisa) Wheeler of St. Ignatius, MT and Steve Weingart of Spokane, WA, sister/cousin Elly Woll (Steve) of Ronan, MT, granddaughter and the apple of his eye Layla, grandson John; step mother Jane Wheeler of Chiniak, AK, aunts Jeannine (J.C.) of Reardon WA, Mary Ann Weingart (Bob) of St. Ignatius,MT, Connie Sutten (Galen) of Roseburg OR; uncles, Tom Wheeler and Dennis Wheeler of St. Ignatius, MT, and Dennis Reum of Ronan, MT; nieces and nephews Courtney, Cote, Ally, Emma, AJ, Aurora, Kimberly, Charles and other cousins, great nieces/nephews too numerous to name, and last but not least, his favorite dog Archer.  
Mike was preceded in death by his parents John and Rosalie Wheeler, step mother Audrey Snodgrass-Wheeler, grandparents Tom and Edna Wheeler, grandparents Melvin and Elizabeth Reum; aunts Donna Reum and Delores (DeeDee) Reum, uncle Kenneth Reum, uncle Ike and aunt June Orr, and aunt Gaye Wheeler.
The Wheeler family would like to thank the many family members and numerous friends and volunteers who dropped everything to assist in the search, especially Mickey Cheff, Calvin Shepard and the Freeman boys who helped Tyler and Colton find their dad.  We would like to thank Lake County Search and Rescue, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Two Bear Helicopter Rescue, and the Tribal Fish and Game Wardens who also assisted in the search. Your kindness and support will be forever appreciated.  
Visitation will start at noon on Friday, April 13th at Foster Funeral Home in St. Ignatius, moving to the St. Ignatius Catholic Church at 6:00PM, where Rosary will be recited at 7:00PM. Cremation will follow Rosary and a Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, April 14th, at 11:00AM at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. A reception will be provided by the Catholic Women's Guild at the church following the services.

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Rob & Kim Weingart
   Posted Fri April 13, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers for Mike and family. Mike will be dearly missed and will be forever remembered. Growing up with lots of fond memories of John, Mike and Steve, who were always up to something. Knowing that Mike has a large extended family and will always be there to support his family is comfort for all. God Bless All and Mike.

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