Basil Wayne Wheeler, 75, of Athens passed away at his home accompanied by his family on the morning of April 5, 2014. On Tuesday, April 8, his extended family and friends are invited to visitation between 1 to 3:45 p.m. followed by funeral services at 4 p.m. with Pastor Edwin Jenkins officiating and McConnell Funeral Home directing. The First Baptist Church of Athens will host both celebrations of his life. Burial will be in Roselawn Cemetery.
Basil was raised in Monticello, Arkansas, by his loving parents, Edison and Rita Wheeler. He served our country in the U.S. Army as an instructor for HAWK air defense system at Redstone Arsenal, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He met his soulmate, Gloria Andrews Wheeler, during his service and remained happily married to her for almost 53 years.
After service, Basil finished his education at Athens State University. He became a highly successful engineer and entrepreneur, and was the sole founder of Cast Products Incorporated (CPI). CPI has been located in Athens since its origin in 1979, and now employs approximately 150 workers in the Athens community. Basil successfully patented several inventions which revolutionized the emergency vehicle industry. Several of his inventions and CPI products, including emergency vehicle lights, sirens, and ambulance IV hangers, are recognized as nationwide industry standards to this day.
In his later years, Basil enjoyed travel, antique and collectable automobiles, golf, fishing, and vacationing in the Smokies and the Alabama coast. His favorite and most cherished pastime was spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, whom he loved with all his heart and soul.
Basil was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Bruce Wheeler; and a sister, Teddy Wheeler Morrill. He is survived by a sister, Jean Wheeler Boothe of Dallas, TX; his wife, Gloria; two daughters, Ginger Medlen and Lisa McMurry of Athens; their husbands, Mike Medlen and Russ McMurry; and four grandchildren, Colby Wayne Medlen, a University of Alabama alumni currently employed as the Chief Operating Officer of CPI and recently married to Caroline Scherff Medlen; Courtney Lynn Medlen, University of Alabama alumni and current doctoral candidate in physical therapy at the University of Southern California; Colin Wheeler McMurry, University of Alabama alumni and Masters of Business Administration candidate who will begin employment with Wells Fargo in Charlotte, NC, in June; and Caroline Elizabeth Medlen, a cheerleader and junior at Athens High School.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons, nephews, Brian McDonald, Jeff McDonald, Shalon Kindred, Steven Andrews and Bruce Graf, and dear friends, Boyd Jackson, Richard "Dick" DiLullo, Gary Poole, Jim Flynt, Tom Stevenson and Ray Wolfe.
In honor of the dignity in which Basil lived his life, memorials may be made to Hospice of Limestone County, St. Jude Children's Hospital or any other organization dedicated to service of persons in need.
This obituary was originally published in the Decatur Daily.