Ed Wheeler, 80, of Lake City, Florida, passed away Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at Haven Hospice - Suwannee Valley Care Center. Born in Lake City to Willie and Eva Crews Wheeler, Ed grew up selling newspapers and peanuts with his brother, Wendell, on the streets of downtown Lake City. He graduated from Columbia High School, where he was Student Body President. After high school, he entered the United States Navy, serving on the USS Franklin D Roosevelt. After the Navy, he returned to Lake City to work at the Lake City Fire Department for several years. Never one to sit still, Ed decided his career path would be to become an independent insurance agent. In pursuit of that goal, he began taking classes for an Associate of Arts degree at Florida Gateway College (then known as Lake City Junior College) in 1962. While in college and working at Bruce’s Clothing Store, he met Priscilla McMillin of Kissimmee, Florida, who he married in 1963. After earning his associate degree, Ed and Priscilla moved to Tallahassee where Ed studied Risk Management & Insurance at Florida State University. After earning his Bachelor Degree from the FSU College of Business, Ed was hired as a property/casualty underwriter by Travelers Insurance Company. After several years of experience with Travelers, Ed notified his managers that he was returning to Lake City to open an insurance agency. Travelers awarded Ed his first agency contract. The year was 1969: Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Ed opened the Ed Wheeler Agency and their first son, John, was born. For almost fifty years, Ed provided insurance to families and businesses in North Florida. During his business life, he was active in the Lake City Jaycees and Lake City Chamber of Commerce. Ed was an active member of Gateway Baptist Church, where he was a greeter. Ed excelled at making visitors feel welcome in the “Family of God”.
Ed is survived by his wife Priscilla Wheeler; two sons, John Wheeler (Casandra), Lake City, FL and Mark Wheeler (Karen “Kristie”), Tallahassee, Florida; two grandchildren, Josiah Wheeler (John) and Blake Wheeler (Mark); one dog, Waldo. His survivors, though, are not limited to his immediate family, many see him as dad, uncle or grandpa. He was generous with his love and affection.
A visitation will be held for family and friends at Gateway Forest Lawn Funeral Home located at 3596 South US Hwy 441, Lake City, Florida on Friday, April 26, 2019 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Funeral services will be conducted at 3:00 P.M. in the Gateway Baptist Church located at 3252 SW State Rd 247, Lake City, FL on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Jon Kent, pastor of Gateway Baptist Church and Steve Thompson, retired, officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Gateway Baptist Church Youth Programs, 3252 SW State Road 247, Lake City, Florida 32024.
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