Cover photo for Richard John Wheeler, Jr.'s Obituary
Richard John Wheeler, Jr. Profile Photo

Richard John Wheeler, Jr.

October 29, 1951 — December 25, 2022

Richard (Rick) John Wheeler, Jr., 71, beloved husband of Valerie May Wheeler, passed away Sunday, December 25, 2022 from complications of heart disease. Born in Enterprise, Alabama, Rick was the son of the late Richard John and Joyce Kathryn Smith Wheeler. Rick was the oldest of four siblings including his sister Joyce Jerger, and brothers Bruce Wheeler and Bryan Wheeler. He was a devoted husband to Valerie and a loving father of two sons, Russell and Brent. He graduated high school in Arlington, Texas and in 1969 entered Texas A&M University where he joined the Corps of Cadets. While serving in the Corps, he was a proud member of the Ross Volunteers and Commanding Officer of Company A-2 his senior year. He received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering in 1973 and began his career in Austin, Texas with Forrest & Cotton Engineers and then with Espey, Huston & Associates. On August 24, 1974, he married the love of his life, and college sweetheart, Valerie May Dunlap of Belton, Texas at the All Faith’s Chapel at Texas A&M. One of the many projects he was involved with led to a three year stay in Odessa, Texas where he earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Permian Basin in 1980, but would soon settle back to the Austin, Texas area. One of the highlights of his career was working on the Texas High Speed Rail project; he loved trains and airplanes and enjoyed designing new airport facilities during his early career. In 1995, Rick cofounded and served as president of the central Texas engineering firm Malone/Wheeler, Inc. He was still associated with the firm at the time of his death. The company issued these kind words “he was an accomplished engineer and businessman, statesman, brilliant orator, and possessor of a sharp wit and infectious smile. His legacy and the principles by which he practiced engineering and business will live on as a cornerstone of Malone/Wheeler”. Another friend and longtime business associate said the following “He was truly an engineering and development icon in Austin and Central Texas. No one understood that part of Texas like he did. He was always so great about sharing that knowledge and helping the rest of us navigate our way through it. He will be missed”. Alongside his professional engineering career he also served for nine years as a School Board Trustee for the Lake Travis Independent School District, many of those years as President of the Board. He served as a Deacon to his long time Church families at Bee Cave Baptist and later to Marshall Ford Baptist where he taught the Senior Adult Sunday School Class for many years. He was honored to perform the wedding services for several friends and also for his son, Russell and his wife Allison. He also performed the funeral service for his late brother in law. He was an outstanding leader of his community, generously devoting his life to the better. In July 2020 nearing retirement he and Valerie moved to Beech Island, South Carolina to be closer to the many equine activities of the area. He was not a rider but loved Valerie’s horses and was her biggest fan and supportive “horse husband”. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father and brother. His professional and personal service as a leader of his community helped shape the lives and environment of many central Texans. He loved life, his family, and his God. Survivors include his wife, Valerie; sons, Russell and wife Allison of Corpus Christi, TX and Brent of Beech Island, SC. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on February 18, 2023 at 2 PM at Marshall Ford Fellowship Church, 5000 Marshall Ford Road, Austin, Texas 78732. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association, Attn: Honor/Memorial Gifts, 1134 Finfeather Road, Bryan, TX 77803-3823 or the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M or the Marshall Ford Fellowship Church. SHELLHOUSE-RIVERS FUNERAL HOME, INC., 715 E. PINE LOG RD., AIKEN, SC 29803 To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard John Wheeler, Jr., please visit our flower store.


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