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. firstname.lastname@example.org. Most finally thank you so, so much for your prayers, notes, emails and support of him through his courageous battle.
God bless the USA.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. (dougwheeless.blogspot.com)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.