Wheeler, Ray photo.jpg

Saturday, June 19, 2021

9:30 - 10:30 AM

Bethlehem Baptist Church

5151 Program Avenue, Mounds View

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 19, 2021

10:30 AM

Bethlehem Baptist Church

5151 Program Avenue, Mounds View

Ray L. Wheeler

November 19, 1939 – April 16, 2021

Ray Louis Wheeler, 81, passed away peacefully in his Minnesota home on Friday, April 16th surrounded by his wife and family.

Ray, born in Minneapolis, spent his formative years in the Twin Cities. Following graduation from Roosevelt High School, and under the tutelage of Andre’ Spire of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Ray learned the ropes of broadcast radio and the nuances of classical music.

After graduating from the Brown Institute of Broadcasting, he moved to Winona, where his voice could be heard on KWNO Radio. It was in Winona where he met the love of his life, Ahna Ask, while singing in the church choir.

He was drafted into the Army, completed basic training, and returned with an assignment to South Korea. Wed in 1963, Ray and Ahna Wheeler immediately moved to Seoul, where he was a broadcaster for the American Forces Korea Network. Upon their return from South Korea, Ray completed a degree in the history of the Far East at the University of Minnesota.

His interest in broadcasting expanded to include television assignments with KROC in Rochester and KSTP in Minneapolis, and in 1971 he was recruited as co-anchor of the founding team at WLUK-TV in Green Bay. While he enjoyed the role of anchorman for over 15 years, his love of family, radio, and close-knit communities, pulled him back into radio where he acquired radio stations across Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Ray delighted in his relationship with Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior, family, broadcasting, aviation, and the communities he served. A health scare with melanoma caused him to reflect on the fleeting nature of life; shortly thereafter, he retired from broadcasting to step into a role as caregiver for his mother and aunt, who also both suffered from the physical and cognitive declines caused by Alzheimer’s.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Olga Wheeler; and brother, Lowell (Phyllis) Wheeler. He is survived by his loving wife, Ahna; son, Ryan (Malynn Utzinger) Wheeler; son, Brady (Tina Pamintuan) Wheeler; grandson, PK Wheeler; granddaughter, Valentina Wheeler; and loving cousins and extended family.

Friends are invited to a Memorial Celebration of Ray’s life, led by Pastor Sam Crabtree of Bethlehem Baptist, North Campus. Visitation will take place at 5151 Program Avenue, Mounds View, MN 55112 on June 19th, 2021 from 9:30-10:30am, with service to follow. The Mueller-Bies Funeral Home will be assisting the family. Ray will be honored and buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Desiring God, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

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