Patricia Ann “Pat” Wheeler  1935-2023


Patricia Ann “Pat” Wheeler was born to W.L. “Bill” Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson on Feb. 1, 1935 in New London. She grew up in the Humble Oil camp in Hawkins, with her dad retiring from Humble Oil in 1966.

While in Hawkins Schools, she played clarinet and was active in a highly-regarded band program – known for its military, whistle-free precision. Noted for her beauty, fierce intelligence, and astonishing singing voice, she met her future husband, James Paul “Hopp” Wheeler, two years her junior, while in high school, through her twin brother, Doug Johnson.

Upon graduation in 1953, she attended Tyler Junior College, where she studied nursing, winning the prestigious Florence Nightingale award, which honored the school’s outstanding nursing student. Afterward, she received a full scholarship to Texas Christian University, where she excelled academically, earning a bachelor of science degree.

On March 3, 1960, she married Hopp Wheeler, and they had three sons, Keith Paul Wheeler, James Patrick Wheeler, Harlan Clark Wheeler, and a beautiful daughter, Sherri Catherine Wheeler-Hancock. Incredibly, Hopp and Pat’s three sons were each born in a sequence, with the dates of their births falling three months and three days apart: April 12, 1966; July 15, 1961, and October 18, 1967!

While raising these children in Mesquite, Pat worked hospital night shifts, while Hopp worked in optical design in the military products division at Texas Instruments. During this time, Hopp also attended night law school classes at Southern Methodist University (and fulfilled his military commitment). Ultimately, over the course of her husband’s five decade legal career, Pat Wheeler supported him in all his endeavors, while working and raising four children to fear God, in a happy home. Over her 40-plus years as a registered nurse, she worked in some of the finest hospitals in Texas – and also earned a pilot’s license – before ultimately retiring to East Texas.

Most importantly, Patricia Ann Wheeler loved Jesus, followed by her husband, then her children, asking “Do you know Jesus? Do you love Him? Have you given your life to Him?”

Pat passed away peacefully on April 15, 2023 in Tyler, surrounded by family. She is with Jesus in His heavenly kingdom. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, James Paul Wheeler; her children, their spouses, Tina, Becky, Misty and Stephen; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial graveside service was held at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2023 at the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Hawkins. Services are under the direction of Lowe-Gardner Funerals and Cremations in Quitman.