April 21, 1922 ~ August 11, 2011
Milford James 'Bert' Wheeler (89), of Irondequoit passed away quietly Thursday, August 11, 2011. Born in Elmira, NY on April 21, 1922 to Irvine Dewitt and Margaret Pearl Shaffer, he was the oldest of three children. He grew up in Elmira Heights and enjoyed spending time at his grandparents' farm in Pennsylvania. As a young man, he had a love of flying and obtained his private pilot's license and glider license. In 1943 at the height of World War II, he joined the service and was assigned to the 11th Airborne of the Army Air Corps (a predecessor for the Air Force). He was sent to New Guinea and became part of the 81st Repair Group at Finchaven. Being one of the very few who could type, he prepared reports on production of plans for flight. At Lae, he assembled gliders for training airborne troops. On returning to the States, he worked for the Elmira Chamber of Commerce and was President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He also worked as Manager of the Corning Chamber of Commerce. In 1954, he became the manager for small business at the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. He served as the first Executive Director for Monroe County Bar Association and worked there for about 20 years. He later became a tax shelter annuities agent for Travelers. After 'retiring,' Bert drove a school bus for Laidlaw's McQuaid route for nearly 15 years. He enjoyed woodworking, making cradles and rocking horses for grandchildren and specializing in Shaker style furniture and mantel clocks, birdhouses and carved jewelry. Always generous, nearly all of these were gifts to family and friends. Bert and Ruth Elizabeth Duke (Wellsburg, NY) were married shortly after World War II. He loved his family and enjoyed family vacations, travelling around the US. Cherished family memories are of these vacations with their camper trailer. He is remembered as a kind and gentle man who loved to help family and friends. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where he served in various volunteer positions. He is survived by his wife Ruth E. Duke, their four children: Adele Gilmore (Don) of Rochester, NY; Bruce (Kathleen) of Ashton, MD; Cindy Randall (Mark) of Sandy, UT; and Daniel (Marcia) of Alpine, UT; 7 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 13 cousins. He is also survived by his brother Carlton Wheeler. He was preceded in death by his sister Beulah. Friends may call Sunday, August 15th, 4-7 P.M. at Vay-Schleich & Meeson Funeral Home, 1075 Long Pond Road, Greece Chapel. His Funeral Service will be held Monday, August 15th, 10:00 am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 275 Whipple Lane. Interment will follow services in Ashland Cemetery, Wellsburg, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.