Richard Clare Wheeler, 91, of Vernon Center, MN, passed away November 18, 2020, at The Beacon of Mapleton.
Richard was born on December 3, 1928, in Blue Earth County, MN, to William and Valborg (Jensen) Wheeler. He graduated from Garden City High School in 1946.
Richard was a proud Korean War veteran, serving with the 731st ordinance 31st Infantry “Dixie Division” of the Army National Guard. While stationed at Okinawa, Japan, Richard was a truck mechanic. Richard farmed his entire life. His side business was welding repair, and he also created custom iron railings and gates.
Richard was very mechanically inclined and could make just about anything for himself or customers. He made some of his own farm equipment including a garden tractor and a backhoe. For fun, Richard restored antique tractors and made several sets of steam whistles. He collected musical instruments including accordions, an antique organ, and violins (and he even made one himself). He was his own plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, and engineer.
Later in life, he taught himself how to use the computer and spent many hours scanning old photos and documents to preserve them. Richard enjoyed listening to music, especially polka music. He loved dogs and had one at his side whenever possible.
Richard is survived by two nephews, Scott Wheeler of Vernon Center and Stuart (Oksana) Wheeler of Dodge Center; a niece, Beth (Mark) Liebenow of Plainview; three grand-nieces, Amber and Jasmine Liebenow, and Katerina Wheeler.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Glenn Wheeler; sister, Glyde Wheeler; and sister-in-law, Patricia Wheeler.
A private graveside service with full military honors will be held on November 21, 2020 at the Vernon Center Cemetery. Please share a memory of Richard with his family at www.mankatomortuary.com.