1913 – 1995 (December 30)
Raymond Philip Wheeler was born April 4, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois to Andrew Wheeler and Alice Mary Mersick. He had three sisters, and was baptized on April 20, 1913 at Visitation Church, Chicago. He attended St. John the Baptist and St. Rita Elementary Schools, both in Chicago. He began his high school studies at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Chicago, then transferred to Lindblom High School, Chicago. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, in 1932 as a post-graduate student. On September 9, 1933 he was received into the novitiate, professed simple vows on September 10, 1934, and solemn vows September 10, 1937. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1938, and studied theology from 1938 to 1940 at the Gregorian University, Rome, while a member of the community of Collegio Santa Monica. The outbreak of World War II necessitated his return to the United States, where he completed his studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He earned his S.T.B. in 1940. He was ordained a Priest in Washington in 1941.
Father Wheeler did graduate studies in chemistry at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He studied Science at the University of California and Education at the University of Illinois. He was assigned in 1942 to Saint Rita High School, where he taught in the Summer School program. He was transferred in August 1942 to Saint Monica Seminary, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where he served as a teacher. One year later, he was moved to Saint Thomas High School, Rockford, Illinois. In 1945 he returned to Saint Rita High School, Chicago, where he ministered for 22 years, teaching chemistry and serving as Dean of the Science Department.
Father Wheeler became assistant pastor of Saint Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago, in 1967. In 1968 he was transferred to Saint Rita Parish, Chicago, as assistant and prior. In 1977 he was named pastor and prior of Saint Mary Parish, Independence, Missouri. Father Wheeler moved to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, Illinois, in 1979, as business manager. He continued to work with the Knights of Columbus and of the Alhambra, and also provided sacramental ministry at nearby homes for the aged and at local parishes.
Father Wheeler is remembered as a deeply religious and dedicated priest. He died on December 30, 1995, and is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.