Allen B. Wheeler
Resident of Santa Barbara
Allen Wheeler passed away on April 2, 2016 after bravely battling a long illness. He was born and raised in Hillsboro, Wisconsin where he attended High School. Allen attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison on an academic scholarship and graduated with a degree in Geology. While in college, he was a member of the University of Wisconsin Varsity Crew team and was as a member of the ROTC. After graduation, he fulfilled his ROTC requirement by attending flight school, earning his wings and was eventually commissioned an officer for the U.S. Air Force.
After several years of service as a flight instructor, Allen was honorably discharged from the Air Force, moved to Redding, CA and became a pilot for Pacific Air lines. In 1961, as a First Officer, he and the Captain became involved in one of the first US hijackings. During the hijacking attempt, the Captain was shot and nearly died, but First Officer Wheeler was able to subdue the would-be hijacker, and prevent potential further disaster.
Mr. Wheeler became a pilot and later a Co-Captain for PanAm Airlines and later for United Airlines. During his time with PanAm, Allen made numerous flights to Viet Nam to deliver and retrieve soldiers and supplies. Allen retired from United Airlines in 1989 having flown over 33,000 hours and earned his real estate salesperson license and had a successful career in commercial real estate. In addition to his career as a commercial pilot and real estate agent, Allen owned a large Christmas tree farm back in his native Wisconsin.
Allen is survived by his loving sons Bruce Wheeler and Douglas Wheeler, nephews Russell and Jeff Kane, the love of his life for the past 27 years, Evelyn Howe, her children Douglas (Kathryn) Howe, Cameron (Peter) Ministri, Bradford (Jill) Howe and Gregory (Pamela) Howe, several adoring grandchildren and wonderful friends.
Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Apr. 12 to Apr. 16, 2016