Dude Wheeler, 82, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 20 with family at his side. Dude was born Oct. 19, 1931 in Wibaux, Mont. to Merril and Irene (Cummings) Wheeler. He graduated from Montana State College with a B.S. in agriculture in 1958. He received his Master of Science in ag economics in 1959 and earned his Ph.D. in ag economics from Oregon State University in 1968. After finishing his college work in Oregon, he came back and taught for a couple of years at Montana State University in the Ag Economic Department.
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Following his short stay with MSU, he joined Snittker and Associates in Washington, D.C. After his stint in Washington, D.C., he founded Winrock Research, Livestock & Training Center on Petit Jean Mountain, Ark. He served as president and CEO for 11 years at Winrock (Winthrop Rockefeller). During his time at Winrock he traveled to many different countries. Some of the countries that he traveled to setting up agricultural and livestock research centers included Indonesia, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Guyana, Liberia, Philippines, India, Singapore, Egypt, China, Kenya, Tanzania, Honduras, Ecuador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Iran, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Italy, Thailand, Nicaragua, and Pakistan. He headed two task force missions for President Ronald Reagan. After leaving Winrock, he joined Sparks Commodities in McLean, Va. as a lobbyist for the agricultural related projects. From Sparks Commodities, he joined Rodale Institute in Emmaus, Pa., serving as the managing director. He retired in 1987 and moved back to Bozeman.
Dude received an honorable discharge while being decorated with a National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal from the U.S. Air force in 1954. His job in the Air Force was a cryptographic technician. While serving in the Air Force, he worked for the National Security Agency (NSA).
He was an avid MSU Bobcat and Bozeman Bucks Baseball fan. Dude ran the scoreboard at the Bucks games, rain or shine.
Dude is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Kathleen; and two sons, Scott (Kelly) and Steve (Nita); three grandchildren, Tyler (Tiffany), Kyle, and Abby; sisters, Vivian and Marian; and brother, Ed (Gretchen), and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Harry, Gordon, and Norm.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge. He will be buried at the family plot in Wibaux, Mont.
The Wheeler family would like to thank Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, Mountain View Care Center and Hospice of Bozeman Deaconess, along with the caring nurses at Bozeman Deaconess, for all the great attention they gave Dude (Dad).
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dude may be made to the Bozeman American Legion Baseball. Donations may be mailed to Dude Wheeler Memorial, P.O. Box 6370, Bozeman, MT 59771-6370.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 24, 2013