Jay Garth Wheeler
1962 - 2020
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Jay Garth Wheeler

Seattle Fire Department Lieutenant Jay Garth Wheeler was born in Seattle on July 5, 1962 and died in Bremerton on March 4, 2020. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, a hazard linked to many years of exposure to fire fighting.

Jay graduated from Inglemoor High School and earned a BA in history at University of Washington. As a first responder, his two most valuable qualities were courage and hope. Jay served in the Seattle Police Department South Precinct from 1989 and then later joined the Seattle Fire Department in 1997. During his career he served on Rescue 1, Ladders 5, 7, 9, 11, Engines 36, 38, and continuously supported the Fire Alarm Center. Last August when his illness took hold, Jay was a Lieutenant assigned to Engine Co. 29 in West Seattle. Jay was a volunteer diver for the Seattle Aquarium, motorcycle enthusiast, Jeopardy master, and connoisseur of fine whiskey.

It was hope that led him to his wife Valerie. He found great happiness with her. The rest is a love story with a combined family of his children Molly/Bryce, Patrick and Daniel, stepdaughter's Madisen and Makenzie/Jamee and grand-children Warner and Grey. He was a loving son to parents Garth and Roberta. A gregarious eldest brother to siblings/in-laws Scott/Karin, Laurie/David, Sherry/Arya, & Craig/Kamrin & a heroic uncle to many nieces & nephews.

When Jay was diagnosed, it was the power of hope that he took to all his treatments. He did not think he would be leading his family as a First Responder into heaven. His faith was quiet and sure, but no need to fear, the courageous Jay is watching over us.

Jay led an honorable life and is leaving a legacy with Police, Fire, and expanded family to be proud of. A memorial service with full FPD honors will be held at West Side Presbyterian Church, near Engine 29 in West Seattle on Thursday, March 26 at 1:00 pm.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 8, 2020.
01:00 PM
West Side Presbyterian Church
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
July 5, 2020
I rowed on the University of Washington Crew team with Jay back in the 1980's, and I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I remember Jay as a teammate who pulled a strong oar in the boat, and had great pride in being a member of the crew team. Jay was a stand up guy, a hard worker without a selfish ego. He was the kind of guy who led by his actions, and he really liked being a Husky. Hearing now that he served honorably as a police officer and a fireman for many years, it makes me proud to have known him, if only briefly during my college years. The world was a better place with Jay Wheeler in it.

I sincerely want to express my heartfelt condolences to his family, I am truly sorry for your loss.
Charlie McIntyre
June 28, 2020
Jay and I were classmates at Washington basic law enforcement academy in 1989. I remember him being a highly motivated individual who had a lot of passion to whatever he put his mind into. I only found about this sad news thumbing through the UW Magazine. Like him I switch professions to the fire service.

Rest in Peace Brother.
LTC Andres D Sulla, USA, Ret.
March 17, 2020
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Steven R
March 10, 2020
As a member of the community who has also lost a loved to cancer, I want to extend my sincere condolences to the Wheeler family. May the God of all comfort support and sustain you through this difficult time.
March 8, 2020
I became an aunt at 8 years old when Jay was born. All of his aunts and uncles are also mourning the loss of the wonderful person and know what an enormous loss this is to his family. He always had a zest for life and living.
Deb Beck
March 8, 2020
Jay was a great man, he adored his family and will be greatly missed by all who came in contact with him. My prayers are with his loved ones, my deepest condolences to you all.
Brenda Bright Barker
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