Jack Robert Wheatley passed away peacefully Saturday, October 31, 2020 at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah after a fruitful life spent in service to his family, church, and community.
Born on January 31, 1928 to Michael Wheatley and Maude Agnes Norton at Robin, Idaho, Jack grew up on the family farm with four older siblings where he learned to work hard and be productive. His early education was in a two-room country schoolhouse, followed by his graduation from Pocatello High School and after one year at Idaho State University he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy.
West Point was a turning point in his life as he added discipline to enhance his natural talents and skills. He inculcated the academy’s motto of duty, honor and country into his life’s mission. During his cadet years, he met his eternal companion, Mary Lois Sharp at the New York City Manhattan Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If opposite personalities and talents can combine to create something great, this was the result of the union of Jack and Mary Lois. Jack often commented that many of his greatest accomplishments were a result of Mary Lois’ influence on his life. They were married in 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple after Jack spent 18 months in the Korean War as a combat engineer. Their married life started in Virginia and Missouri as Jack completed his military service and then he commenced a construction career in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1956, the young couple moved to Palo Alto, California to found the first of several construction and real estate development companies and to raise their growing family. Jack’s work ethic and engineering know-how led to business success. He built homes, subdivisions, apartments, condominiums, schools, churches, shopping centers, hospitals, office complexes, civic buildings, university buildings and the Oakland Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He gave back to his community as he served in many church positions such as bishop and stake presidency counselor and as a city councilman, mayor and in other civic positions.
Another turning point in his life occurred in 1978 as Jack and Mary Lois were called to preside over the Denver Colorado Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Giving three years of service as a missionary further focused his efforts on serving his family and fellowmen. After returning from his mission, he continued to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to turn his business acumen to philanthropic efforts centered around giving others the opportunities to learn and succeed in life. Brigham Young University in Provo, Idaho and Hawaii, Idaho State, BYU Pathway and many other charitable causes became the settings where he could improve the lives of many others. In 1989, Jack and Mary Lois again embarked on full-time missionary service, this time in Portugal. After this mission, Jack and Mary Lois moved in 1992 to one of their favorite places, Carmel, California to enjoy its natural beauty and to provide a place for their family to gather. As his wife’s health declined, in 2010 they moved to Salt Lake City to be closer to family.
Jack never seemed to run out of energy to do good. Despite his busy life, he always had time for his family. His relaxation was not rest or leisure, but just turning his focus on something different where he could contribute his efforts. As a family, we enjoyed many fun vacations and teaching moments as Jack traveled with his children and grandchildren. He had high expectations for his family and taught his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to seek after eternal things by his example and unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His great legacy is a productive posterity. Jack is survived by his children John (Diane), Victoria Schmidt (Jeff), Elizabeth Lambert (Scott), Robert (Lisa), Charles (Shauna) and Mary Margaret McQuinn (Tony), by 34 grandchildren and 59 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Lester Wheatley. He is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lois, three siblings and by two great grandchildren. We are so grateful for his loyal and great caregiver, Vicky Booth who dedicated eleven years of her life in keeping our parents comfortable in their later life. Although we will greatly miss our Father’s love and faithful example, we are very grateful to have had his influence in our lives. There is, no doubt, great joy in heaven as he is now reunited with our mother and so many of his friends and family.
Because of the pandemic, we will not have a conventional viewing and funeral. The family plans to celebrate his life in a limited, private family funeral and graveside service on Friday, November 13th. The extended family and friends are welcome to share their memories, photos and thoughts of Jack at www.larkinmortuary.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Inspiring Learning at BYU, BYU Pathway Worldwide or a charity of your choice.
Mr. Wheatley was an extra ordinary man. I appreciated his intelligence and business acumen. I also appreciated his generosity and concern for others. He always thought of others first. I worked with Mr. Wheatley for a few years and was always treated with extreme kindness.
He was always an example of a Christlike person. His generosity has enriched the lives of many people and especially the students and Brigham Young University.
Many people will say of him," Well done thou and faithful servant."
So sad to hear about Uncle Jack. I am sure there was a wonderful reunion. He was such a Christ-like person. He surely will be missed. May you all be comforted at this time of loss. We are so grateful for our knowledge of life after death.and that we can see our loved ones again if we love righteously. Love you all. Karen
Dear family, the video was such a lovely tribute to such a nice man and wonderful Uncle. We will always cherish our memories of him and the visits we had with him as he would visit us at our home and on the farm. Jack was always a great example the way he lived his life and concern for us. We appreciated all his kindness to us. May you as a family be blessed and comforted at this time, as you pay tribute to him and honor is legacy. Our love Marshall and Tammie.
Dear Wheatley Family,
I am thinking about you. I was uplifted by the well-tribute to Jack in the obituary. It would be difficult for me to imagine capturing such a devout and legacy filled life as Jack’s in words—but you have succeeded brilliantly in articulating which, of his many accomplishments, was most important to Jack. I came to know Jack as we worked together on The Tech Museum. This project had a steep climb to reach fruition. Jack chaired our building committee after having selected Riccardo Legoretta as the architect with Lucille Packard. Jack steered the course of the building program through the complex San Jose city requirements and the result was something all associated with the project were proud of. His encouragement to me throughout fundraising trials was one of the main pillars of my success. He accompanied me and another board member, Yvette del Prado, in a call to ask David Packard for a major gift. As we got into the car to drive to Dave’s home, Jack said, “We should have a prayer” and then he offered a powerful humble prayer. I never felt more ready to approach a donor— that made a big impression on me and on Yvette. And, yes, Dave said a Big Yes. The lesson from Jack’s prayer propelled and inspired me to call upon the Lord in prayer to help me raise the remaining money. Jack’s influence and contributions were wide ranging and profound, but as you reflect on his life, I wanted to share with you this example of Jack’s faith and courage in making a big project happen with a small gesture of faith that reverberates still 20 years later. I am grateful beyond words for the life and friendship of your father and grandfather—and for the magnificent example of the complimentary partnership of Mary Lois and Jack’s life together.
Sorry to hear about the passing of President Wheatley. He was my mission president in the Colorado Denver Mission. I always enjoyed talking with him and seeing his great example on life. He was a great man.
Sincerely, Terry and Brenda Hart
I'm sorry the virus prevents so many of us from being able to meet with the family & extend our great praise for this wonderful man. Bishop Wheatley was my bishop as a teenager in Palo Alto 1st Ward & he was so kind to me. I loved dancing in the Oakland Temple Pageant, knowing he had been on the team that built it. And sometime while I was in college he came into Provo & found many of us from Palo Alto & took us all out to eat. Such a kind, generous man. I know he spent his life serving others & sharing his talents & money for wonderful causes. It's been nice to reconnect with Tori in Oakley. Condolences to all the family!
We send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Wheatley family. Foremost in our mind’s eye are the kindness, faithfulness, and generosity that Jack and Mary Lois made the core of their life’s work together. They will forever be remembered on campus at BYU, and in so many other places and settings. The world is changed because of who they were. We feel so blessed to have had a share in their lives and influence.
To the Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley family, we extend our condolences and best wishes to a wonderful exemplary family. Our Uncle Jack was a quiet pillar for those of us in his extended family. Always kind, always dedicated to what he knew to be right. The world is, without question, a better place because our dear Uncle made a difference in every way, both small and large. We will all miss him but hold hope in re-unitng with the entire Wheatley family eternally.
I recall meeting with Jack and Mary Lois at their home in Palo Alto in the late '80s. I was visiting alumni for the University of Utah. Mary Lois was in a wheelchair and Jack was so tender with her. It was evident that they adored each other. We had a wonderful visit. I saw Jack occasionally at various University of Utah functions and was happy when the Wheatleys moved to Utah. Jack was such a dignified gentleman and it was evident that he was a person of high character. I feel privileged to have known him and know that the University of Utah appreciates all he and Mary Lois did to advance education at the U. I send our condolences and warmest wishes to Charles and the rest of the family. I am sure Mary Lois has welcomed Jack home with a wonderful reunion of family and friends.
It was a pleasure to associate with Brother Wheatley when I was employed by the BYU Development Office. Jack was a straight shooter and knew what he wanted to accomplish with his gifts to the Y. He thought through what he wanted to accomplish in a very concise manner and shared them openly. His desire was always what was best for the University. Mary Lois kept him balanced and they were a powerful couple who served the Lord faithfully. I appreciated getting to know his son, Robert and his wife Lisa, during that time and pray that the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost will be with them and the entire family.
The summer I was 17 I worked for Wheatley Construction in California, for almost 3 months, before going back to finish my senior year in high school in Pocatello, Idaho. Uncle Jack coordinated everything and took me to the hardware store to get my first framing hammer and some other tools. I was an apprentice carpenter for him. He had me work on an apartment building starting from the foundation up. Uncle Jack came to the job site a few times and treated me as one of the "men". He also took me to San Francisco a couple of times that summer. That summer's experience was one of the highlights of my life! I have many fond memories of my Uncle Jack.
He was also very good to his sister Helen, my mother; and to my younger brother Grant. His generosity to their health and well being was much appreciated. Thank you Uncle Jack for everything. My condolences to the family.
While Pres Wheatley made a significant impact on the Colo Denver mission where I served as a missionary, yet his obit only briefly mentions his vast charitable giving that impacted as many lives as his missionary experiences. The Colo Denver mission was the largest mission in the US at the time, covering 1/3 of Wyoming, panhandle of Nebraska, 1/3 of Kansas, a tiny portion of Oklahoma and New Mexico, and then Colorado -- so he had his work cut out for him. But after his missions, he didn't stop and say "I'm done." You may not be aware that he and Sis Wheatley donated generously to BYU helping build additional buildings for the University's expansion, endowing a professorship chair & setting a scholarship fund for children of Colo Denver missionaries - which fund my son benefited. He & Sis Wheatley's efforts laid the groundwork for many people to hear and accept the gospel, but also helped members by increasing BYU's ability to accept more students who studied while increasing their faith and preparing to serve missions. I am grateful for the Wheatley's efforts and know that he has now joined with his wife where free of physical complaints, they are now serving the Lord once again by teaching those who died without hearing the gospel.
Thank you so much for making today's service available to us! I was grateful to "be there" for this tribute to gentle, kind and brilliant servant, Uncle Jack. His is the Christmas card I've saved each year. His inspired me to send the same greeting of Christ and art at Christmas. I've been thinking about each of you missing your sweet dad since he passed and I know Jesus is right there comforting you.
Love you all! Andrea
To the Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley Family:
We grieve with you at the passing of your father, Jack Wheatley, but rejoice in his joining your dear mother, Mary Lois.
Jack Wheatley's career was beyond unique. It was incredible. Thank you for the wonderful obituary you published, which we read and admired and rejoiced in his wonderful example of service to family, Church, and community.
We know that your faith and love for the Savior will sustain you at this time. Without the hope of the resurrection and a life after death, the loss of a loved one would be intolerable. But knowing what we know about the Lord and His divine plan of salvation helps us endure temporary separation from our loved ones.
We are sorry that the current restrictions and our own vulnerabilities prevent us from being at either the viewing or the funeral. We trust you will understand.
President Dallin H. Oaks
Kristen M. Oaks
I was so saddened to hear of Jack’s passing.He was one of the most kindest and gentlest people I have had the privilege to know.Each year we would attend together the annual West Point Founder’s Day Celebration where we would reminisce about our days at West Point with many of the graduates who attended.He was so proud of West Point.During the sports season we would both root for the Army and BYU teams.Please extend my sympathy to your entire family and let them know how much we share their pain at this sad time-
Recalling a phrase from our West Point Alma Mater-
“And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said,”Well done”
Be thou t peace.”
Well done Jack Wheatley-
Be Thou At Peace.
This earthly world has lost a true gentleman and wonderful example of hard work, deep love and service to so many others in through the various parts of his life. We loved reading his beautifully written obituary, that was an indication of the deep influence for good to so many people, wherever he went. and the part of his life when or wherever they knew him . We knew him through several activities at BYU. As new members of the PLC he was so welcoming and kind to us.
As new members of the BYU PLC, Jack repeatedly supported and welcomed us. He was always so friendly and pleasant to us. We will miss him and his smile and strong handshake.
He seemed to live a exemplary life, influencing others for good by leading, teaching and loving and giving to other people. He was a hard charging worker and leader and through his generosity and philanthropy he has influenced so many others. We are impressed with how many ways he served and loved others.
We send his family our love and respect, as we have met and interacted with a number of his posterity.
Sincerely, Russ and Nina Booth, Salt Lake City, UT
(We were out of town for 10+ days and missed seeing the Obituary, or would have offered our thoughts earlier)
Often I ponder about the many kindnesses and love that I have learned from President Jack R. Wheatley from serving my mission in the Denver Colorado Mission. His example of leadership, commitment to doing our best in any circumstance. At times I wonder if I measure up and ask if I am doing the best I can to make the world a better place. Am I invested in the right things and making a contribution to this world? It is this compass that I reflect upon. Jack will always be a standard and example that helps me on my journey of life. Thank you and peace be to all of you his family.