Howard Wheeler

[Age 93] The Baltimore municipal employee also owned two gas stations.

May 20, 2007

Howard M. Wheeler, a retired Baltimore municipal employee and service station owner, died of renal failure Thursday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. The Cockeysville resident was 93.

Born and raised in West Baltimore near the trolley line where his father worked as a conductor, Mr. Wheeler left school early and held a variety of jobs. During World War II, he worked at the Bethlehem Steel shipyards and helped build Liberty ships, which played a pivotal role in America's war effort.

Mr. Wheeler later owned and operated two Esso (now Exxon) service stations in Baltimore, one at Bentalou Street and Edmondson Avenue, the other at Fremont and Mosher streets.

"He always had a thing about cars and was the first guy in his neighborhood to own one," said a daughter, Wendy Savelle of Towson. "He would work two or three jobs at a time just to keep a car, and he owned models most of us have never heard of."

He sold his interest in the stations in 1966 and worked as a treatment plant engineer at Baltimore's Back River wastewater facility until his retirement in 1980.

Mr. Wheeler's wife of 70 years, the former Mildred L. Allred, died in 2004.

On their 70th anniversary in 2003, the couple received a congratulatory proclamation from the governor, which has become a family heirloom, Mrs. Savelle said.

At Mr. Wheeler's request, no funeral services will be held. Plans are incomplete for a memorial gathering.

In addition to Mrs. Savelle, survivors include another daughter, Phyllis Ann Martin of Taneytown; sons Richard H. Wheeler of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Thomas E. Wheeler of Essex; sister Ruth Reaver of Odenton; and a grandson.

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