Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday - 20 May 2013

This is our final post for our gallant warrior and the narrative version of his obituary which was placed in the Transylvania Times of Brevard, NC, The Griffin Daily News of Griffin, GA and The Potomac News of Woodbridge, VA today.  There is talk of publishing his blog with all of it's typos and Dougisms.  If you would like to have a copy it will be available at a later date.  Let us know on his email if you are interested.  Most finally thank you so, so much for your prayers, notes, emails and support of him through his courageous battle. 


God bless the USA. 

Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Crowder Wheeless, (US Army Ret.) 69, of Brevard, NC died on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Duke Hospital surrounded by his family in love.  Like the soldier he was, he fought overwhelming odds in his battle against cancer.   A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Brevard on Friday, May 24 at 2:00 pm.  He will be interred at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. 

Doug had a long distinguished career of service in the US Army.  After four years of arduous military training at North Georgia College, he was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate and entered the regular Army in the Signal Corps.  After technical and paratrooper training he was posted to the 101st Airborne Unit stationed at Ft. Bragg NC, a “first responder” Army unit.   One of his deployments was to Washington, DC during the riots following Dr. King’s assassination.  From Ft. Bragg, he was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Vietnam.  As an Infantry Battalion Signal Corps Officer he served on the front lines insuring that critical communication lines were available to the units.  He was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation medals for his outstanding performance.  Following Vietnam, Doug was selected for extensive communications training at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey where he also earned his MBA. After that he was Professor of Military Science and Commandant of Cadets at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

The Army put his extensive technical training to good use by assigning him to Pusan, South Korea where he served as the senior Army signal corps officer responsible for all communications for this critical military installation.  His performance was rewarded by being selected for the highly competitive Command and General Staff College and Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  Following graduation, he was assigned to the Army General Staff at The Pentagon where he held sensitive positions on the Operations Directorate involving development and procurement of Army communications systems.  From the Army Staff, Doug was assigned to the prestigious Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served in a position for planning and execution of communications support to operational military forces.  He was also twice awarded the Defense Meritorious Medal for his service in The Pentagon.

A fellow soldier who served with him for most of his career noted that he had never encountered another leader like Doug. He was unflappable and humble, yet he made things happen.  Units he commanded were highly disciplined and well trained.  His troops loved him.  In the Pentagon assignments, he was the “go-to” guy for Army and Joint Staff Generals.

After retirement from the U.S. Army in 1986, Doug was a Division Chief for Advanced Systems Development (ASD), an information technology support contractor primarily supporting the Department of Defense in The Pentagon.  He was employed by ASD for 24 years during which he was pivotal for ensuring the operational readiness of numerous networks, databases, and communications systems within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).  This included oversight of the Executive Support Center for managing communication cables for OSD and providing direct communications support for the Defense Secretary while on travel.

In 2010 he retired to the beautiful Western NC Mountains in Brevard.  He enjoyed frequent family gatherings, his new Brevard friends, hiking and golf.  Upon diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia he created a blog called “Conquering AML” to chronicle his experiences. (

Doug is survived by his wife of 43 years Jane Manley Wheeless a native of Griffin, GA and his three children, Amy Wheeless Peters of Huntersville, Camilla Frances Christopher of Cleveland, GA and Isaac William Wheeless, II of Asheville; son-in-laws Kevin Peters and Scott Christopher; four grandchildren, Julia and Sara Peters and Laurel and Clayton Christopher.  He is survived by his brother L.  David Wheeless and sister-in-law Jeanie Wheeless of Roswell, GA;  brother and sisters-in-law Taylor and Anne Manley and Gail Hammock of Griffin, GA., many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews, and dear, life-long friends, like family Joyse Witheridge of Brevard and Alison Witheridge of Encinitas, CA. 

Doug is preceded in death by his infant son Douglas Crowder Wheeless, Jr. and his parents Isaac William Wheeless and Henri Frances Crowder. 

Arrangements are being made by Moody-Connolly of Brevard.  Visitation is Thursday night between 6:00 and 7:30 pm. Memorial donations may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday - 19 May 2013


First of all our family wants to thank all of you for your prayers and support.  Memorial events for Doug are:


*  Visitation at Moody-Connolly Funeral Home in Brevard, NC Thursday, May 23rd from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.  Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


*  Memorial service at First United Methodist Church in Brevard, NC, Friday, May 24th at 2:00 PM


*  Burial at Arlington National Cemetery.  TBD.  Probably three months from now.


Stay tuned.  We will have his obituary/narrative posted tomorrow.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday - 18 May 2013


Day 29


We lost Doug shortly after noon today.  He passed with all of us surrounding him in love.  Even our associate pastor from Brevard was there.  Sweet Douglas is now telling jokes in heaven.  God I hope they are ready for his foolishness.  We will have the funeral at FUMC in Brevard Friday at 2:00 pm.  Visitation probably Thursday evening at Moody Connolly Funeral Home in Brevard.  Burial at Arlington in a few months.  Stay tuned for further details. 


Love you guys for your prayers and support and laughter.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday - 17 May 2013


Day 28


Ghost writers back.  Not a good day for Doug.  Unfortunately kidney and liver numbers are dropping and heart is slowing.  The kids are here and we are all together. We will meet with doctors tomorrow to try to make the best decision for Doug.  The warrior is still at battle.  Prayers for strength, peace and love. 

Thank you for the flood of emails.  We have been reading them to him. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday - 16 May 2013


Day 27


Ghost writers still on duty.  It was a rather uneventful day.  The EEG has been taken away because there was no evidence of seizure activity.  The CT and MRI showed no abnormalities.  Waiting on some cultures to grow from the Lumbar Puncture but Doug's condition continues to baffle one of Duke's finest teams.  The good news is that the breathing tube was not critical but used as a preventative to assure a good airway and we hope in the near future it will be removed.  He is getting nutrition which is a good thing and absolutely so zonked out that we will never recall this experience. 


Please continue prayers and emails.  As soon as he is able to receive them they will be shared with him.  The medical staff all say that they are in this fight with him and he can recover.  We hold on to hope and prayer. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday - 15 May 2013


Day 26


Ghost writers back.  It was a rough day in ICU.  Doug had an episode which could have been a mild seizure that thankfully Joyse alerted the medical team that it was happening.  This resulted in a breathing tube being placed and a boat load of diagnostic tests to find out the cause of his mental status.  Actually this is a good thing because nurses tell us he can recover from this but HE needs to do the work. We need to stay optimistic and pray.  We should know results of diagnostics tomorrow and hopefully a plan will be in place to resolve this current issue.  The comforting thing this is that he has been sedated with a good airway and his stats are good so he has an optimal situation for restorative progress. 


Thank you so much for the transcontinental prayers that we feel and appreciate. We have been told to talk to him even though he is sedated so if there is an email you want to send we will read them to him again and again. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday - 14 May 2013


Day 25


Ghost writers, not riders, are back and probably will be for a while.  Doug's fogginess has unfortunately increased and he has a condition called hepatic encephalopathy.  This condition is due to the toxins from the liver damage impacting his brain.  It produces a delirium state.  We are being told that even though Doug's liver function has improved the toxins have not completely worked their way out of his body and therefore the brain has taken this hit.  The good news is that a CT head scan revealed no additional problems.  Right now he is unable to swallow medicines, drink or eat.  So a nasal gastric tube has been placed to allow him to have the critical nutrition for the bone marrow transplant and the medicines to address the delirium.


The situation is serious but we are hopeful that a slow and steady recovery is in the future.  Unfortunately, his slow improvement has been interrupted and probably will be again by a backslide here and there. 


Prayers and emails please.