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GHEEN Colonel John Wes Gheen, USA retired, received his final assignment instructions on 22 May 2013 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born to the late John and Mary Gheen of Chisholm, MN on 11 June 1931 in Hibbing MN. Wes graduated from Chisholm Senior High School in 1949, attended Hibbing Junior College for a year, then received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Wes married the former Dolores Ricci of Hibbing MN on 19 June 1954 and for more than 58 years they traveled the world for duty and for pleasure. He graduated on 4 June 1954, and entered the Infantry where he served for over 28 years. Following five years in the 2nd Infantry Division at Ft Lewis, Washington, and Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, other assignments included: Assistant Professor University of Notre Dame; HQ US Army Pacific, Hawaii; advisor to the Vietnamese Army; Battalion Exec, 9th Infantry Div, Vietnam; the Army Staff The Pentagon; Battalion Commander, 1st Infantry Division, Ft Riley, KS; and Division G3; Chief of Staff, Ft McClellan, AL; Brigade Commander, 3rd Infantry Division FRG and Community Commander Aschaffenburg Military Community; Deputy Community Commander 2nd Armored Division, Nuremburg, Germany; and terminal Assignment as Director of Training, the Infantry School at Ft Benning, GA. Wes is survived by his loving wife, Dolores Gheen; five children, Bonnie and Bill of Jacksonville, FL, Karen (Steve S SGT USMC Ret) State of Greenville, SC, Pamela (Thomas, Col USA Ret, USMA 1982) Kastner, of Old Tappan, NJ, Lisa (Kevin, Col USA Ret USMA 1982) Merrigan, of Chandler, AZ; seven grandchildren, Justin State, Kirby Kastner (2nd Lt. USMA 2012), Ryan Kastner, Lafayette College commissioned May 2013, Riley Merrigan (1st Lt USMA 2010) stationed in Afghanistan, Seth Merrigan (USMA 2013), Keegan Merrigan (USMA 2014), and Kelsey Merrigan Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, scheduled to be commissioned in May 2016; two sisters, Mary Greig of Coon Rapids, MN, and Joann Osmanson of Chisholm, MN; and numerous nieces and nephews. Upon retirement Wes joined the Staff of the US Soldiers and Airman s Home (a retirement home for retired and disabled soldiers and airman located in Washington DC, where he served for 12 years, appointed by the Secretary of the Army for the last 5 years as Deputy Governor. Upon relocating to Jacksonville in 1995, he received an appointment from the Governor of Florida as a Long Term Care Ombudsman, serving for 5 years, the last 4 as Chairman of the First Coast Chapter. Organization memberships included Association of Graduates USMA, Military Officers Association of America, National Association of Uniformed Services, VFW, American Legion, and Knights of Columbus. Colonel Gheen will rest for visitation of family and friends on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Quinn-Shalz Funeral Home. Funeral Services with Military Honors will be held on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 11:00 am at St. Paul s Catholic Church of Jacksonville Beach. He will be laid to rest with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a date and time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org, 4899 Belfort Rd., Ste. 300 Jacksonville, FL 32256. Please visit our online Tribute at www.quinn-shalz.com. Services under direction and care of: Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union on May 26, 2013
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