EARL RAMON "RAY" WHEAT
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Earl Ramon "Ray" Wheat passed away on March 20, 2013 after a brief but courageous battle with lung cancer. Born and raised in Pensacola, he was the youngest of seven children born to Clyde Edward Wheat, Sr. and Eva Victoria Hall Wheat on August 31, 1927. His family dates to the original Spanish settlers. He is predeceased by his two older brothers, Clyde Edward Wheat, Jr., and Clifford Joseph Wheat, and two sisters, Mary Marjorie Wheat Brown and Eva Hilary Wheat Hice. He is survived by two sisters, Imogene Wheat Dickerson of Pensacola, and Patricia Wheat Hantz of Pittsburgh, PA and his special friend of many years, Lillian "Lill" Bonifay. Although he never married, he considered his 31 nieces and nephews and a multitude of great-nieces and great-nephews as his own.
Ray graduated from Pensacola Catholic High School in 1945 in the first four year graduating class. He was active in student council and sports. He received a football scholarship to Perkinston College in Mississippi which is now known as Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He had the dubious distinction of being drafted into the United States Army twice—once in 1946 during WWII and second, in 1950 during the Korean War.
After college and tours of duty, he began working for the United States Postal Service as a Transit Mail Expediter. He retired in 1990 after 44 years of service. His passions were his family, friends, walking and he also frequented "The Dogs", as he called it. His familiar, smiling face at Pensacola Greyhound Park will no longer be seen but without a doubt that would be his idea of Heaven.
Ray was a gentle man who tried to make a difference in the world through small acts of kindness toward others. As his family and many friends can attest, he was a giving and thoughtful person. In December 2012, he received an award from Northwest Florida Blood Center after his last donation which brought his total to an amazing 25 gallons.
The family will receive visitors and St. Stephen's Church on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM. Funeral mass will begin at 10:30 with Fr. Hector R.G. Perez STD Celebrant. Service will be followed by interment at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetary. Pallbearers will be his nephews, Jim Dickerson, Bob Hice, Ramon Hice, Damian Hantz, Rick Beecher, and Ed Boyington.
The family would like to thank Dr. Tom Sunnenberg, Dr. John Bray, Dr. Gerald Lowrey and Dr. Ferdinand Bumagat and their respective staffs as well the wonderful, compassionate staffs at both Sacred Heart Hospital's St. Catherine's unit and Covenant Hospice. We would also like to thank his many friends who visited daily to keep up his spirits. In his ever practical way, rather than flowers he would much prefer that donations be made to Covenant Hospice, 2001 N. Palafox St., Pensacola, FL 32501 or St. Stephen's Catholic Roman Catholic Church, 900 W. Garden St., Pensacola, FL 32501.
To send condolences please visit www.watersandhibbert.com
WATERS & HIBBERT FUNERAL HOME is in charge of arrangements.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Mar. 22, 2013