Obituary for Stephen Wheat
Stephen D. Wheat, 72, passed away in Polson on Thursday evening, September 7, 2017 with his wife Carole by his side, after a short battle with cancer.
Although he was really a fourth generation Montanan, Steve was born on July 14, 1945 in L.A. where his dad was stationed during the war. His parents, Millie and Don Wheat returned to Dillon, MT where they raised their family of three children, Tracie, Steve and Scot. The family later moved to Anchorage, AK and then to Fairbanks, where Steve’s dad was a school principal and his mom a teacher. Steve attended junior high in Fairbanks and graduated from high school there in 1963.
Steve spent two years in the U.S. Army, including one year in Vietnam, where he worked in the motor pool division. There is a photo of young Steve in Vietnam with a pet monkey on his shoulder.
Back in Montana, Steve earned a Bachelor’s degree in English with a secondary teaching certificate from the University of Montana. His love of reading and good literature lasted his whole life.
Steve had many jobs throughout his working career, teaching high school English and Spanish in St. Ignatius, working as a mechanic in both Arlee and Missoula, becoming a county commissioner in Sanders County in 1994, working as a custodian in the Dixon School, and as a handyman for Bayside Realty.
Steve was especially proud of the barn and round house he built in Dixon with his first wife Pam. The many trees they planted there were also a point of pride.
After his divorce, Steve was living in Polson, and through a mutual friend, reconnected after 23 years with an old friend, Carole Kammer. After one and a half years of letters, phone calls and visits, they were married in Bowie, MD in June 2006. They moved back to MT in September of that year, making their home in Polson.
Steve was a sweet, shy man who loved to talk, especially when it came to his passions, sailing and racing. For many years he crewed for a friend at funny car races and most recently enjoyed local auto cross races with his Camaro. Steve could fix anything, especially cars, and loved books, art galleries and museums, and all types of live music. He was a loyal friend and loving husband, a kind, gentle man.
Steve enjoyed being part of many groups – the Friday hiking group, his marina friends from the Sail In, the Monday morning breakfast group at Pop’s Grill, Lonnie’s short story discussion group and the SCCA auto cross group.
Steve and Carole made yearly trips back east to visit family and took many road trips together exploring interesting towns in MT.
Preceding Steve in death were his father Don Wheat, and mother in law Teresa Kammer (Nani).
He is survived by his wife Carole, his mother Millie Wheat, sister Tracie (Dave), brother Scot (Kelly), and niece Crystal and her daughter Iso, nephew Mike (Jessie) and children Dakota Rose and Mason, nieces Laurie and Traci and many favorite cousins, including Dede, Jackie, Mickey, Jim, Nick, Richard, Mark and Eric as well as former wife Pam, brother in law Ray (Judy) and nephews Paul and Scott; also his MD family, sisters in law Nora and Georgia (Steve) and their children, Nick, Vinnie, Dominic, Brad, Meredith and Courtney.