Richard Wheeler

Richard Wheeler, 77, passed away on Nov. 2, 2022. Richard was a native of Southold, N.Y., and moved to Huntersville, N.C., with his wife when they retired in 2018.

Richard, who went by the common nickname “Dick,” was the second oldest of five sons to Joe and Mary Wheeler. His father was a mechanic and Dick followed in his footsteps. He was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam. For 60 years he was a member of the Southold Fire Department Protection Engine Company and Rescue Squad. In 2002 he received the Fireman of the Year Award.

Richard and his wife, Laureen, owned and operated Wheeler’s Garage in Southold for 41 years. He enjoyed working on old cars and trucks. He was very proud of the ’55 Chevy he rebuilt and the ’72 Cutlass he and his son worked on together. 

Richard was an avid NASCAR fan and spent many years at Riverhead Raceway, where he and his brothers started racing in the 1960s. Even after he stopped racing in the 1980s, he continued to be a part of several pit crews. This is something he and his family enjoyed together. For many years he also participated in weekly leagues at Mattituck Bowling Lanes. 

In his free time Richard enjoyed spending time with his family, working on rebuilding cars and building wood projects such as birdhouses and Christmas decorations. He was always working on various projects at his home. He also loved spending time with his grandchildren, often building Lego creations or playing games with them. 

Richard is survived by his wife of 52 years, Laureen Wheeler of Huntersville, N.C., and his children, Amy (Brad) Anderson of Delhi, N.Y., and Michael (Amy) Wheeler of Huntersville, N.C. He’s also survived by his four grandchildren, Natalie Anderson, Zachary Anderson, James Wheeler and Andrew Wheeler. He was predeceased by his parents, R. Joseph and Mary Wheeler, and brothers Robert Wheeler, Craig Wheeler and Tom Wheeler. He is survived by his brother Scott Wheeler and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews. 

The family will receive visitors Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 1 to 3 and 6 to 9 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold, with a firematic service at 8 p.m. 

Memorial donations may be made to Southold Fire Department, 55135 Main Road, P.O. Box 1469, Southold, NY 11971; or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101-9929.

This is a paid notice.