Robert Arthur Wheeldon
March 15, 1944 – June 6, 2018
Sailor of the Seas and Skies… Robert Arthur (Bob) Wheeldon passed away on June 6, 2018 at his home in Silverdale, Washington.
Bob was born “landlocked” in Spokane, Washington on March 15, 1944 to Herb and Rose Mary Wheeldon. He grew up in Rosalia, Washington with his older sister Marianne Armstrong, younger brother, Carroll Wheeldon, and youngest sister, Paula Wheeldon. Bob attended Seattle University majoring in electrical engineering where he met and married Josephine “Joey” (Drouin) Wheeldon in August 1967.
Bob’s passion for flight began with a college internship, and later a career at The Boeing Company. He put his electrical engineering degree to work in the US Army where he was loaned to NASA at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Bob was especially proud to have worked on the communication systems for AWACS, the Space Shuttle Program, and Boeing 777 first Satcom System. It was at Boeing that Bob was introduced by colleagues to sailing and was an avid crewman during many sailboat races in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bob was a dedicated family man and loving father to Tricia (Paul) Zurybida, Jennifer (Michael) Cotton, David Wheeldon, and Anne (Kyle) Wahlgren. He cherished his grandchildren: Pablo, Michael, Alexandria, Brandon, Elizabeth, Gabriel, Caroline, Molly and Andrew. Weekends were often spent at the Pacific Science Center and usually included a show in the planetarium. Summers included camping or sailing adventures as a family. Throughout everything, Bob wove a spirit of wonder, investigation, and discovery, especially for space and nature. His children experienced their first solar eclipse in Eastern Washington on February 26, 1979. Tricia remembers how many other eclipse viewers crowded around to see how Bob had rigged up a projection of the eclipse on the side of their white VW camper van, allowing his children to safely view the progression of the solar eclipse without damaging their eyes.
Due to careful financial planning, Bob was able to retire at 55. Joey and he moved from Seattle to Port Ludlow, a small village they discovered during their many boating trips. For many years, they enjoyed sailing and kayaking around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. During retirement, Bob and Joey also “sailed” along in their RV exploring 292 of the United States’ National Parks and historic battlefields. Bob especially enjoyed spending time in the Mojave Desert with his brother-in-law, Dan Hartline. When at home in Port Ludlow, grandchildren fondly remember talking with Grandpa Bob about “tech” and the nightly ritual of watching Star Trek while eating popsicles, or “Bob-sicles” as we came to call them.
In the summer of 2014, the conversation turned toward planning a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for Bob and Joey. Bob stated that more than anything he wanted his all his children and grandchildren together to share in the total solar eclipse that would occur on August 21, 2017. Fast forward three years, August 20, 2017 found three generations of Wheeldons excitedly gathered in McCall, Idaho as Grandpa Bob initiated his grandchildren into the next generation of eclipse followers.
Life can be can be strange though… that evening Bob experienced his first cardiac pain in 20 years. After spending the night in the tiny McCall hospital, Bob was released just in time to see the eclipse. Following up with his cardiologist, however, began a different adventure. It was discovered that Bob had such advanced cardiac disease that the doctors were astounded by his previous lack of symptoms. In October 2018, Bob began hospice care, but continued to enjoy using his computer, watching The Great Courses lectures, and spending time with his friends and family. We count ourselves lucky to have enjoyed a final Thanksgiving, Christmas, a “bonus” birthday in March, and most recently, Mother’s Day with Bob and various family members. Now Bob is stargazing from heaven and exploring the Mysteries of the Cosmos as he waits to see us again.
A Funeral Mass of a Christian Burial to commemorate Bob’s life’s adventures and send him forth with blessings on his final voyage will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 2, 2018 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church at 6th Street and Veneta Avenue in Bremerton, Washington. Reception and graveside service to follow.
- Josephine Wheeldon, Wife
- Pablo Benevidez, Active Pallbearer
- Brandon Cotton, Active Bearer
- Gabriel Cotton, Active Pallbearer
- Mike Downum, Active Pallbearer
- Mark Peake, Active Pallbearer
- Dale Dodds, Active Pallbearer
- Kelly Brandon, Active Pallbearer
- Gino Ramagna
- Carroll Wheeldon, Honorary Pallbearer
- Dan Hartline, Honorary Pallbearer
- Dean Kiess, Honorary Pallbearer
- Jim Kluge, Honorary Pallbearer
- Rosary Monday, July 2, 2018
- Funeral Mass of a Christian Burial Monday, July 2, 2018
- Grave Side Service Monday, July 2, 2018
Robert Arthur Wheeldon
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Richard and Norma Abrams
June 12, 2018
We are so sorry for the loss of a wonderful husband, Father, Grandfather and man!!1 He will surely be missed!!! Prayers for all of his family!!!