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1946 Joel 2022

Joel Douglas Wheeler

April 4, 1946 — March 12, 2022

(Durham, NC) - Joel Douglas Wheeler, 75, passed away at Duke University Medical Center on March 12th, 2022.

He was born on April 4,1946, in Durham, N.C. to the late Benjamin Dewey Wheeler and Annie Connell Wheeler.
Doug graduated from Durham High School in 1964 where he was active in numerous activities, including playing trombone in the marching band. He graduated from East Carolina University (ECU) in 1968 with a degree in Business. While attending ECU, he played Club Lacrosse and was a brother in Kappa Alpha Order. 

 Doug met his wife, Pam Nelson, in the Yates Baptist Church youth department while they were teenagers. They began dating while both attended ECU, and got married on December, 20, 1969. Doug and Pam recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.

 In the early 70’s, Doug served in the Army Reserve. Being in the military service was meaningful to him because his father fought in World War II, and Doug was quick to remind people that our freedom comes with a cost, and should not be taken lightly.  For the past several years, on Memorial Day, Doug performed “Taps” in his front yard while many neighbors came to watch him honor our country. His political leanings were no secret, but most importantly, he thought everyone should exercise their right to vote.  He demonstrated this by becoming Chief Voting Judge at Forest Hills Clubhouse, and loved serving on election days. He knew in his small way, he was helping to protect our Democracy.

 A man of prodigious faith, Doug was a loyal member of Yates Baptist Church for 66 years, and during that time served as: Parliamentarian, Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, played in the Orchestra, rang Handbells, sang in the Choir, and chaired and worked on numerous other committees. He boldly loved the Lord, loved his church and his church loved him.

 His passion for people and numbers eventually led him to a career in the financial world. He held several mortgage banking positions until becoming a trusted Financial Advisor in the early 90’s.  Most recently, Doug was employed with CrossBridge Financial Group, where he was working until the time of his death.

 It goes without saying that Doug’s personality was “larger than life”.  It’s a fact that he was not only the life of the party, he WAS the party.  Doug had a quick and genuine smile.  His gregarious nature assured he never met a stranger. If he didn’t know someone, he would stop them and say, “I’m Doug, who are you?” He was never short on opinions, but ultimately his goal was to take every opportunity to learn something new or expose himself to a unique situation or novel idea. Speaking of learning, Doug claimed that his extensive knowledge (HE was the smartest person HE knew) came from his voracious appetite for reading from a wide ranging list of subjects.  

 Years ago, Doug started what he called, “The Swami Report.”  The Swami Report was an email with a stream of consciousness from his head to the keyboard. The report covered anything and everything from sports to current events, to what TV shows or movies he was watching, or his new favorite beer.  He loved adding new friends to the Swami list, and it was always upbeat, funny, and always made one think.  One constant theme was his eternal optimism of all things “Duke”.  He embraced every sport they played, and there was no bigger or loyal Duke fan than Doug Wheeler.

 Doug had many hobbies and interests.  One of the newest was competing to solve “Wordle” and his favorite, long-time pleasure was feeding and watching his birds in the backyard.  However, there was nothing he loved more than being with his “three girls” and his four grandkids. Doug and Pam’s personalities were as opposite as night and day, but as they aged, those differences blended, and they were content and fulfilled just being together.  Ashlee and Darbee never went a day without texting or talking to their Dad and he never let a day go by without letting them know how proud he was of them (“Every day”). The grandkids adored their “Paw” and knew any outing, trip or sporting event with him would be memorable. Doug was the epitome of a family man.

 He is survived by his wife, Pam, and their daughter Ashlee Smart and her husband Ty; daughter Darbee Jackson and her husband Brian; grandchildren, Emmy and Joel Smart, Avery and Barrett Jackson; brother, Barry Wheeler and his wife Linda; sister-in-law Peggy Nelson (Frank); niece Brandy Avery and husband Jason, and their children Jackson, Parker, Annabelle and Marshall, Carolina Wheeler, and many special cousins and friends.

 A ”Celebration of Life” will take place on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at Yates Baptist Church at 1:00 p.m. followed by a reception at Croasdaile Country Club.  The family has requested that those attending wear Duke Blue or Red/White/Blue attire to honor Doug.

 In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to Yates Baptist Church,  2819 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707. Please add "Growing God's House Fund" in the memo line.


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Service Schedule

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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