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Earnest Wayne Wheeler
May 31, 1943 ~ December 4, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Earnest Wayne Wheeler, known affectionately to friends and family as Wayne, passed away on December 4, 2023, at his home in La Porte, Indiana. Born on May 31, 1943, in Oklahoma, Wayne's life was marked by a spirit of adventure, a warm sense of humor, and a deep commitment to his loved ones.
Wayne proudly served his country in the United States Air Force, a period of his life that instilled in him a sense of discipline and camaraderie that he carried throughout his years. After his service, Wayne's entrepreneurial spirit led him to become a beloved restaurateur, where his friendly demeanor and exceptional sense of humor made him a well-known figure in his community.
Growing up in the mountains of Casper, Wyoming, Wayne developed a love for the great outdoors. Fishing was not just a pastime but a passion, and he could often be found by the water's edge, rod in hand, enjoying the serenity of nature. Wayne's adventurous spirit never waned, and it was this zest for life that he shared generously with all who knew him.
Wayne was a devoted husband to his wife, Rachelle (Schultz) Wheeler, whom he married on July 13, 2016. Their partnership was marked by mutual respect, laughter, and an unwavering support for each other's dreams and aspirations. Together, they created a home filled with love and open arms to family and friends.
He was a cherished father to his daughters, Sarah Harmon of La Porte, Angela Dawn of Riverton, Wyoming, Michelle LaRue of Casper, Wyoming, Jessica Fritzen of Richmond, Virginia, Rebecca Beadles of La Port, and Amanda Hopkins of La Porte. Wayne's legacy continues through his 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, whose lives he touched with his humor, guidance, and unending love. He took great joy in their accomplishments and milestones, always there to celebrate or offer a word of encouragement.
Predeceased by his parents, Earnest Lee Wheeler and Barbara (Boyce) Wheeler, Wayne is remembered as a pillar of strength and a source of boundless laughter for his family. His stories and jokes will be recounted at family gatherings for years to come, keeping his spirit alive in the hearts of those he leaves behind.
A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Wayne Wheeler was funny, friendly, and adventurous—a man who lived with his whole heart and inspired others to do the same. As we say goodbye to Wayne, we take solace in the memories we have and the love he gave us. His was a life well-lived, and he will be profoundly missed.
A Celebration of Wayne’s life will be held from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, December 10, 2023, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana.
To light a virtual candle, share a story of Wayne’s life or leave a message of comfort for his family, please visit www.EsslingFuneralHome.com.