My dad Crist Wheeler was born May 5, 1945 in Los Angeles, CA and passed away on January 19, 2012 in Whittier, CA. He was the son of Merle and June Wheeler who resided in Los Angeles until they moved the family to Whittier in the early 1950’s. He was one of three siblings, the middle son, and has two sisters – his older sister Sharon (deceased) and younger sister Beverly.
Crist was raised in Whittier where he attended elementary, middle, and high schools. He graduated from Sierra High School in 1964. Shortly after high school Crist joined the US Navy to avoid the draft during the Vietnam era. His military career was short lived as his mother June got ill. He was honorably discharged to go home to take care of his mom and help raise his younger sister Beverly. Sharon was away at college and his father had since moved away.
Upon his return home Crist went to work in the used machinery business, a business his father had been in for many years. He went to work for Angelus Machinery Company in the late 1960’s before starting his own business Wheeler Machinery Sales in 1969. Crist spent nearly 45 years of his life in the used machinery business. He was an entrepreneur nearly his whole life and gained much wisdom in his travels.
In 1969, he met his wife Earlene Jones, and they married April 27, 1970 in Las Vegas, NV. They were married for 41 years. They had two children the oldest Dan and the younger Jennifer. Crist and Earlene purchased a home in Whittier in 1977 and raised their children in the same town Crist was born in. To this date they still live in the same home they raised their children in.
Crists oldest son Dan graduated high school and went on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and received a degree in Industrial Technology. Jennifer went to Cal State Fullerton and received a degree in Psychology. Crist was able to help put his kids through college with the business he had built.
Shortly after Dan got out of college he went to work with his father. They had the privilege of working together to make the business grow. For a short time his daughter Jennifer worked at the business, but upon her graduation from college pursued a career with the San Marino School District. His sister Beverly was hired in 2001 to run the finances and take care of the book keeping. Dan and Beverly will continue to run the legacy of Wheeler Machinery Sales that Crist had built.
While alive he got to see both Dan and Jennifer get married. Dan married Gina in 2001 and they gave Crist three wonderful grandchildren Grace, Garrett, and Sara. Jennifer married Chris in 2004 and they gave Crist one wonderful grandson Justin. Crist had four grandchildren in total and got to spend a lot of time with them.
Crist was a wonderful husband, father, brother, and friend to many. He was very active in AA and at the time of death had 26 years sobriety. He missed his 27th AA birthday by three weeks. He was a very proud man, and patient of family and friends. He loved being with his family and enjoyed going to his AA meetings to be with his friends. He was always willing to help people that were in dire straits or had a problem they were dealing with. He always put others first.
I am very grateful that I had such a wonderful dad. I got to spend many years working with him and enjoyed the relationship we had and the wisdom that he shared with me. Although my dad passed away young, I have learned that quality over quantity is what its all about. He will truly be missed.