CLAUDE RAY WHELCHEL III Claude Ray Whelchel III was born in Texas on Feb. 5, 1952. He moved to California at 9 years of age. Claude attended Camarillo High School, where he competed in 4 years of varsity football and 4 years of varsity wrestling. Claude was Tri-County Champion Wrestler his senior year of high school. Claude served in the Army
for 2 years after high school and was a Proud Vietnam veteran. Claude then moved to Chico and went on to graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University, Chico in 1976. In 1977, he married the love of his life, Maxine Oestreich. Claude was a general contractor and spent the past 38 years doing construction work. Not only has Claude built multiple structures throughout Butte County, he has helped build the positive qualities and characteristics in his children and grandchildren. Claude was selfless and generous beyond words, it did not matter whether it was a family member or a complete stranger. Claude loved to make others happy. He lived with the belief and practice that everyone deserves to have another chance. Claude found joy in playing harmonica with his grandson, fishing, boating, and spending time with his family. Claude was a hardworking man his whole life. On Dec. 1, 2011, he worked a full day as usual, but that evening he was diagnosed with Acute Meyloid Leukemia. After spending most of the past 9 months in the hospital, his fight to recover from leukemia and its associated complications ended on Aug. 30, 2012, while he was surrounded by his wife and children. He is survived by his wife, Maxine; his son, Kyle (fiancee Melissa); his daughter, Melanie; his grandchildren, Jessen and Ruby May; his parents, Claude and Martha; his brother, Russell (Ling); and his nephew, Preston. Claude wanted to have a BBQ when he returned home for anyone who knew him to come to; we are going to follow that plan. There will be a Celebration of Life and BBQ at his home on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. (1206 West Wind Dr, Chico 95926). All who knew him are welcome to come. We would appreciate receiving stories of how Claude has touched your life so that we can compile a book for Jessen and Ruby May to help them know their grandpa as they grow up.