Gene A. Wheeler “Emil”, age 81, of Hortonville, passed away peacefully with the love of his life at his side on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, following a short battle with Acute Leukemia. Gene was born in Appleton on January 9, 1939 to the late Loren and Alice (Piette) Wheeler. He went to school in Appleton, and one day during his senior year Gene had a teacher that told him “if you think you are smarter than I am, you should leave.? So, Gene turned around and left school and went on to become a very successful entrepreneur owning many local businesses with his wife Dona, including his first business DX Gas Station, Appleton Auto Wrecking, Appleton Auto Recyclers, Manitowoc Auto Wrecking, Wheelers Supper Club and Special Memories Zoo. On August 8, 1960, he was united in marriage to Dona Heller. The couple enjoyed 60 years together. Gene loved auto racing. Many NASCAR drivers drove his cars throughout the state. His cars won many championships driven by many drivers, mainly JJ Smith, Jim Sauter, and his son Rod. Gene enjoyed scratch off lottery tickets, making bird houses and feeders, and watching birds and squirrels in the backyard – but most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed by his four furry friends, Buttons, Tank, Sophia, and Bella who would always be anxiously waiting for him by the door when he came home. Gene was an avid fan of the Vikings and any team playing the Packers.
Gene will be missed by his loving wife Dona, Hortonville; his 3 children: Rod (Tina) Wheeler, Mackville, Julie (Scott) Ziegler, Appleton, and Bob (significant other Mary) Wheeler, Greenville; 11 grandchildren: Amanda (Ross) Strupp, Cristie (Mark) Siebenaller, Beth (Josh) Lehmann, Danielle (significant other Derek) Wheeler, Stephanie (Craig) Schott, Jon Ziegler, Brock (Ashlee) Saunders, Eric (significant other Kassandra) Saunders, Melanie (Fiance Walker) Ziegler, Teagan (Taylor) Warmbier, and Tyce (fiance Megan) Wheeler; 13 great grandchildren; 3 sisters: Marlene Gorman, Joann (Ralph) Neumann, and Patricia (Steve) Schomish; 2 brothers-in-law Marvin (Joanie) Heller and Chuck Schumacher; and sister-in-law Kay (Fred) Fuhrmann.
He was preceded in death by his parents Loren and Alice, his father and mother-in-law Arno and Magdalyn Heller, sister-in-law JoAnn Schumacher and brother-in-law Virgil Gorman.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, private family services will be held.
If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing, but if you meet JESUS CHRIST and forget him, you have lost everything. John 3:3, Rev 3:20.
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