Cover photo for Mary Ellen Wheeler's Obituary
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1934 Mary Ellen Wheeler 2023

Mary Ellen Wheeler

January 30, 1934 — November 14, 2023

Davis Junction

Mary Ellen (Murphy) Wheeler, 89, passed peacefully at her home in Davis Junction, Illinois on November 14, 2023.  She was born January 30, 1934, in Buffalo, New York to Ivan and Lillian Murphy.  As a junior at Libertyville High School, she began her formal music education at the Chicago Conservatory of Music.  While attending MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, she worked with children at the Illinois School for the Blind and found it life changing.  Among her many life-long friends were children she met at this school.   Mary Ellen was a second-generation honor student of Hungarian master composer and pianist, Franz Listz.  She was an honor student of Madame Lidge, who had been an honor student and protégé of Listz.  At an early age, Mary Ellen exhibited exceptional musical skills on the piano and performed publicly while in elementary school and by her teens, was performing on radio.  This passion for music accounted for an incalculable number of recitals, church services, weddings, and accompanying students competing in state music contests.  For over two decades, she accompanied the Stillman Valley High School musical productions, as well as other organizations’ musical endeavors.  One of her favorite past-times was tending to her extensive gardens.

 

March 14, 1954, Mary Ellen married William Donald Wheeler and settled in Davis Junction in 1968 to raise their four boys.  Don Wheeler taught in the Stillman Valley School system until retirement.  The Wheeler family became fixtures in the community due to their budding musical talents, but possibly more due to their affinity for exotic pets.  On this front, Mary Ellen was a Saint – allowing the boys to raise anything that crawled or slithered. 

 

More than anything, she loved being a mother, homemaker, and being called “Mom.”

 

Mary Ellen is survived by sons Jon (Karla) of Cold Spring, MN; Joel (Lynn) of Davis, IL; Jorian (Margie) of Oconomowoc, WI; and James of Davis Junction, IL; along with Grandchildren Ryan (Nikki), Alyssa (Tony) Perkins, Danielle (Micah) Wheeler-Bateman, Jacob (Beth), Joshua, David (Molly), Brent, Meagan (Mike) Wizceb, Bradley, Daniel (Holly), and Brittney.  There are 15 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.

 

Mary Ellen was preceded in death by son Daniel Ivan; husband William Donald; both parents; siblings Carolyn, Chasteen, Daniel and Dale; and great-grandson Wyatt Wizceb.

 

A graveside interment will be in Wheaton, Illinois for immediate family only.  A Celebration of Life in her memory will be in the Spring of 2024.

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Ellen Wheeler, please visit our flower store.

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