Long time Kenai resident Rose Laura Wheeler
died of natural causes on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 surrounded by her family at
Central Peninsula Hospital. She was two days away from her 91st birthday.
A viewing will be held on Saturday, April 10 at
10 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. service at the Kenai Bible Church located at 600
Main Street in Kenai. A potluck celebration of her life will be at Tyotkas Elder
Center at 1000 Mission Ave. in Kenai immediately after burial services are
Ms. Wheeler was born April 8, 1919 in Unalakeet
to Myles and Marion Gonangnan. In 1948, she met the love of her life, Archie
Wheeler, in Nome. After a brief courtship they were married in Nome and moved
the Kenai Peninsula. Ms. Wheeler loved to travel, choosing to spend most of her
life on the Peninsula. She was living in Seldovia when the 1964 earthquake
occurred. Shortly after they moved to the city of Kenai and bought a house. Ms.
Wheeler loved to commercial and subsistence fish. When she was younger she
fished off the coast of Unalakeet and on the Yukon River. After she moved to
Kenai she and Archie operated a beach site and fish camp on the north end of
Kalgin Island. Rose and Archie were happily married for 43 years until he passed
away in 1991. She continued to reside in their home on Beaver Loop.
Ms. Wheeler was a very accomplished Native
artist. She was legendary for the many Eskimo dolls, yo-yos and baby booties she
made throughout the years. She also made skin parkas, "Kuspuks," also known as
cloth parkas, knitted sweaters, hats, mittens and crocheted blankets.
Ms. Wheeler loved Jesus and was a devout member
of the Kenai Bible Church. She had many loves and hobbies in her long life some
of which included traveling, dancing and making her annual trip to Anchorage to
the Fur Rendezvous to hear the Native Music Cal. Rose was also well known for
her weekly trips to bingo. Most of all Rose loved her family, friends and
children giving her a well known nickname "Grandma."
Ms. Wheeler was preceded in death by her
husband; sisters, Martha Nanouk, Ruth "Ella" Jensen and Laura Melgreen; and
brothers, Collins Gonangnan, Henry Morris, Matthew Gonangnan, Norman Gonangnan,
and Donald Gonangnan.
She is survived by her children, Dollie
Katherine Morey and Leo George "Sonny" Wheeler of Kenai and Myron Wheeler of
Sitka; grandchildren, Jarrod Minkler, Archie Minkler, Linda Wheeler, Chrystal
Van Sky, Sharon Pope, Dollie Hoch, Stephanie Ries, Joseph Minkler, Archie
Minkler, Nina Corder, Amanda Moran, Scott Hanthorn; great-grandchildren, Sivan
Wheeler, Cash Corder, Carlee Corder, Talia Pope, Blaine Pope, Maliyah Hoch,
Amelia Hoch, Kayla Moran, Michael Moran, Lauren Moran, Tyler Van Sky, Katherine
Van Sky, along with their extended families.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations can be
sent to 202 Birch Street, Kenai AK 99611.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial
April 09, 2010