It is with great sadness and immense gratitude, we regret to inform you that Mr. Richard G. Wheeler, age 94, a Life Trustee of the Board of Directors and an Honorary member of the Admiral Farragut Academy Foundation Board, passed away on November 7, 2022, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Lt. Col Richard G. Wheeler, U.S. Army (Ret.) had a lasting connection to Farragut dating back to 1972 when he first started as a Journalism and English teacher. He was appointed Headmaster of the southern school in 1976 and served in this role until 1987. During this time, he led the Administration of the southern campus during pivotal years following the Vietnam War which saw a decline in enrollment at military schools.
During his 35 years of service, he served as a Trustee to both boards for the North and South campuses. In 1994, he was designated as Superintendent and President of the Board of Trustees for Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg. The Board of Directors honored Mr. Wheeler with the title of Rear Admiral. He retired as Chairman of the Board in 2007 and remained as counsel for the academy for many years.
Prior to Farragut, he served in the Navy with distinction in World War II on the USS Chemung. During the Korean War, he served in the Army as an artillery forward observer with the 555 FA Battalion and the 5th Regimental Combat team. Mr. Wheeler also served in Vietnam earning the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry among others.
Mr. Wheeler was instrumental in Farragut becoming coeducational to female students in 1989-1990. Then in 1998 with his encouragement, the Lower School opened and was named in honor of him and his wife. His granddaughter Julie Neri ’12 is a Farragut teacher and attended Farragut from Kindergarten to 12th Grade.
Mr. Wheeler had many talents and also authored two books: “A Tale of Two Campuses” and a self-published biography entitled “Yes, We Wrote It Down.” He often described his life as an exceptional life loaned by God to a remarkably average person.
A celebration of Mr. Wheeler’s life will take place with full military honors at Memorial Park in St. Petersburg on Sunday, November 13 at noon. In lieu of flowers, the family has generously encouraged donations to the Admiral Farragut Academy Foundation in his honor at the following link https://farragut.org/funds/founders-fund/
We are planning on honoring Mr. Wheeler’s important legacy to the Academy and the details will be shared soon.