Nature 14

Gary Thomas Wheeler

January 1, 1947 ~ November 20, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old

Gary Wheeler Obituary

Gary Thomas Wheeler was born January 1, 1947.  He was the third child born at Trumball Memorial Hospital in Warren Ohio, following his twin brother, Larry, who was born just minutes ahead of him.  The story goes that his father complained that he missed out on not just one, but two tax breaks by just a few hours and that he was equally disappointed to miss out on all the gifts that were bestowed upon the first baby of the year.  This might have been the only time Gary Wheeler was late for anything because if you knew Gary well, on time was a good half hour early!

Gary lived in Warren, Ohio with his parents, E Dean and Alice Eileen Wheeler and his twin brother until the summer of 1958.  They then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Gary graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1965.  His brother reports that they would often switch places with each other in their classes, seeing as they were identical twins, and no one could tell them apart.  Gary and Larry were best friends, and both attended Oklahoma State University in the fall of 1965.  Gary went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1969.

While at OSU, Gary met Mary Lou Smysor who would become his first wife when they married in March 1968.  Gary was promoted to the title of father with the birth of his first child Shelly Marie in May 1971, and Jacob Thomas in November 1976.

After college graduation, Gary went to work for Champlin Oil.  He was transferred to Des Moines, Iowa where he worked until 1972.  At this time, he came back to Oklahoma and worked for a homebuilder as a site manager. He later worked for his mother-in-law at Candlelight Homes for a few years before he started his own homebuilding business in 1975. Gary T Wheeler Homes built homes in South Tulsa until the housing market crashed due to the oil bust in the early 1980’s.  Gary began his career with Ingersoll Rand in 1982 where he worked on gas compressors in Snyder, Texas.  After approximately a year with the company, he was given an office job with Ingersoll Rand in Broken Arrow.  Gary continued working at Ingersoll Rand, which later merged with Dresser and became Dress Rand. It was there that he met Mary Badley, and in November 1985, two families became one when he married Mary and added her three sons, Jeff, Rodney, and Stephen to the family.

Gary retired after working 30 years for Dresser Rand, in early 2012.  His retirement days were spent at the Broken Arrow Elks Lodge No. 2673, playing Wii Bowling, watching sports, and enjoying the company of good friends. 

Gary was a Clubhouse Boy for the Tulsa Oilers in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964.  Gary’s son, Jacob tells stories of his dad, who loved the game, playing catch in the backyard until Gary’s arm would give out.  His daughter Shelly remembers being a young girl, John Denver songs being played on the record player while she danced in the living

room with her Daddy.  Gary’s bonus kids, the three Badley boys, speak highly of Gary and the way in which he loved their mother and treated them as his own.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, E Dean and Alice Eileen Wheeler, and his wife Mary Wheeler.  He is survived by his children, Shelly Wheeler and Jacob Wheeler (wife Angela), Jeff Badley (wife Susan), Rodney Badley (wife Tommie) and Stephen Badly (wife Vernessa). Gary was Grandpa to: Jackson Wheeler; Cassie Watson, Shyann, Trae and Ellianna Wheeler; Chris Badley; Billy Badley (wife Amber); Danny Badley (wife Kendra); Grace Badley and Savannah Badley.  He was a Great Grandfather as well, to Kennedy and Crawford Badley.

Please join family and friends for a celebration of life for Gary on Saturday, January 6, 2023, 3:00pm, at the Broken Arrow Elk’s Lodge. 

Family and friends are invited to share memories online at The family of Gary Wheeler entrusted his care and cremation to Brown Funeral Home & Cremations, 210 S. Broadway, Coweta, OK, 74429, 918-486-5515.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary Thomas Wheeler, please visit our floral store.

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Celebration of Life
January 6, 2024

3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Broken Arrow Elks Lodge #2673
10266 S. 241st E. Ave.
Broken Arrow, OK 74013


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