Keith Marwin Wheeler passed away September 14, 2017 at the age of 93 at his home in Toluca Lake. He leaves behind his daughters Katie and Nancy, his son Keith, niece and nephew Gail and Gary Carlmark as well as extended family and many close friends. His wife Mary preceded him in death on January 3, 2010.
The son of Thomas Lee and Laura Wheeler, Keith was born and raised in the Los Feliz area along with his brother Fredrick and his sister Marjorie and became a lifelong resident of Los Angeles.
Keith attended Franklin Avenue Elementary School and graduated in 1943 from John Marshall High School. He was an avid outdoorsman throughout his life and while at school he worked part time at Hollywood Sporting Goods where he would share his knowledge and enthusiasm for skiing, fishing and other outdoor sports. In the evening, he worked at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles and later would regale friends and family with stories about the restaurant in its heyday.
With the outbreak of World War II, Keith, who believed strongly in duty and patriotism, enlisted in the U.S. Navy because, as he said, he preferred “water to mud.” He specialized in radio communications and after training in San Diego, was transferred to the Pacific theater.
Upon returning from the war, he started his studies at the University of Southern California and met Mary who would become his wife of 44 years. He was called up as a reservist during his studies at USC and sent to Alaska to work on intercepting Russian communications for the Korean Conflict. After his return to Los Angeles, he graduated from USC with a Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Business Administration as well as a secondary degree in Education.
Keith spent his professional career in residential real estate both in Los Angeles and Newport Beach with the Forest E. Olson Company, later acquired by Coldwell Banker, where he became the General Manager. Later, he became President of Nationwide Relocation, a subsidiary of Coldwell Banker and he was named Honorary Director for Life of the California Association of Realtors.
Keith and Mary settled into their home in Toluca Lake where they raised three children: Katie Wheeler Mathews, Keith M. Wheeler II and Nancy Wheeler Balboa plus three Wire Hair Fox Terriers: Reggie, Crissy and Andy. He was very proud of and found constant delight in his three grandchildren: George Luis, Nicholas Vicente and Charlotte Mary Balboa.
He believed strongly in education and served on the board of directors for the Campbell Hall School and was an active volunteer at the Marlborough School. He was a member of the Crescenta Valley Sportsman Club for 20 years, and Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake for more than 40 years and regularly enjoyed his passion for playing volleyball there.
Throughout his life he held a strong sense of civic duty and dedicated his time to public safety activities including volunteering with the Red Cross and the Wildlife Weigh Station, holding a leadership position at the Toluca Lake Homeowners Association and teaching courses on earthquake preparedness. He also served as a Commissioner, appointed by two Governors, to the California Seismic Safety Commission.
He loved wine and had a sixth sense for knowing when it was 5pm somewhere. He was always happy to share a glass of wine with family or friends and talk about current events and the latest political developments in Washington, which he was well versed in by regularly reading five newspapers cover to cover each morning.
Throughout his life he believed strongly in leading by example and abiding by a clear set of values. His warmth, wit and wisdom will be missed by all who had the great pleasure to know him.
A private burial service will be held next month. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the “Keith M. Wheeler Scholarship Fund” at USC account #91-1201-2441. Attention: William A. Holland, University of Southern California, 1150 South Olive Street, 20th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90015.
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