Basil Wayne Wheeler, 75, of Athens passed away at his home surrounded by his family on the morning of Saturday, April 5, 2014. On Tuesday, his extended family and friends are invited to visitation between 1-3:45 p.m., followed by funeral services at 4 p.m. with the Rev. Edwin Jenkins officiating. First Baptist Church of Athens will host both celebrations of his life.
McConnell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Basil was raised in Monticello, Ark., by his loving parents, Edison and Rita Wheeler. He served our country in the U.S. Army as an instructor for HAWK air defense system at Redstone Arsenal during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He met his soulmate, Gloria Andrews Wheeler, during his service and remained happily married to her for almost 53 years.
After service, Basil finished his education at Athens State University. He became a highly successful engineer and entrepreneur, and was the sole founder of Cast Products Incorporated (CPI). CPI has been located in Athens since its origin in 1979, and now employs approximately 150 workers in the Athens community. Basil successfully patented several inventions which revolutionized the emergency vehicle industry. Several of his inventions and CPI products, including emergency vehicle lights, sirens, and ambulance IV hangers, are recognized as nationwide industry standards to this day.
In his later years, Basil enjoyed travel, antique and collectable automobiles, golf, fishing, and vacationing in the Smokies and the Alabama coast. His favorite and most cherished pastime was spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, whom he loved with all his heart and soul.
Basil was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Bruce Wheeler; and a sister, Teddy Wheeler Morrill.
He is survived his by wife Gloria; a sister, Jean Wheeler Boothe, of Dallas, Texas;; two daughters, Ginger Medlen and husband, Mike, and Lisa McMurry and husband, Russ, all of Athens; four grandchildren, Colby Wayne Medlen, a University of Alabama alumnus currently employed as the Chief Operating Officer of CPI and recently married to Caroline Scherff Medlen, Courtney Lynn Medlen, University of Alabama alumna and current doctoral candidate in physical therapy at the University of Southern California, Colin Wheeler McMurry, University of Alabama alumnus and Masters of Business Administration candidate who will begin employment with Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., in June, and Caroline Elizabeth Medlen, a cheerleader and junior at Athens High School.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons, and nephews, Brian McDonald, Jeff McDonald, Shalon Kindred, Steven Andrews, and Bruce Graf, and dear friends Boyd Jackson, Richard “Dick” DiLullo, Gary Poole, Jim Flynt, Tom Stevenson and Ray Wolfe.
In honor of the dignity in which Basil lived his life, memorials may be made to Hospice of Limestone County, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or any other organization dedicated to service of persons in need.