Kirk Wheeler

Hamilton County

S. Kirk Wheeler, 86, a longtime resident of Signal Mountain, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.S. Kirk Wheeler devoted his life to education and in service to his nation and others. He was the principal at Thrasher Elementary School on Signal Mountain for 23 years, retiring in 1993. Prior to Thrasher, he was principal at Signal Mountain Elementary School for nine years, assistant principal at Normal Park School, and taught in Unionville, Shelbyville, and East Ridge, and in Whitwell County, Ga. As a teacher, he also coached football and girls basketball. One of his proudest moments was when Thrasher School was selected as one of the first National Schools of Excellence and, as principal, he was honored at the White House in 1986.After retirement, he volunteered with the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Foster Care Board and worked for nine years at Wal-Mart, where he was associate of the month. A longtime member of the Church of Christ, Kirk served as education director at Brainerd Church of Christ and Signal Mountain Church of Christ. He served as an election precinct chairman on Signal Mountain for decades. He was a Third Degree Master Mason, having served for more than five decades with the Freemasons.He was a veteran having enlisted in the United States Navy at age 16 after the U.S. entered World War II. Kirk completed boot camp in San Diego, served at Pearl Harbor, and served on Midway Island from ages 17-19 during WWII. Serving in the regular Navy and the Naval Reserves for 42 1/2 years, he was proud to be a World War II veteran and was devoted to serving his country. Kirk gave 300 Sea Power presentations to groups and also the students at Thrasher.After the war, Kirk received his GED, his bachelors degree in education from Middle Tennessee State University on the GI Bill, and his Masters degree in education from George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt University. He was pursuing his Ph.D in education from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when he left the program to focus on his expanding family in Chattanooga.Solon Kirk Wheeler was born on Sept. 8, 1926 in Unionville, Tenn., the son of the late Solon D. and Elizabeth Storey Wheeler.He was preceded in death by his brothers, W.T. and Woodson Wheeler.Kirk was devoted to his family and is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Carolyn Mabee Wheeler, of Signal Mountain; three daughters, Pam (Mike) Thomas, of Ooltewah, Sharon Wheeler, of Montgomery, Ala., and Teresa (Greg) Tinney, of Atlanta; grandchildren, Taylor Thomas, of Ooltewah, and Wheeler Tinney and Sky Tinney, of Atlanta; and his beloved Bichon Frise, Georgia. Kirk loved animals and was also preceded in death by many cherished dogs, including his treasured Bichon Frise, Fred.Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 at the funeral home.Burial will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery with military honors.The family will receive friends from 2 to 6 p.m. today and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project (4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256), or to the S. Kirk Wheeler Library at Thrasher School (1301 James Blvd., Signal Mountain, TN 37377).Please share your condolences at are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist at 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, TN 37343.

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