Arthur Edwin Wheeler, a retired mechanical engineer and longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteer, died Saturday of multiple organ failure at Blakehurst Retirement Community in Towson. The former Towson resident was 81.
Mr. Wheeler was born in Philadelphia and raised in Wynnewood, Pa. He was a 1944 graduate of Overbrook High School and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University in 1947.
He took additional courses at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute while teaching physics and studying business law at Villanova University.
From 1947 to 1948, he was a sales engineer with Joseph T. Ryerson & Sons. From 1948 to 1959, he was manager of regional engineering applications for Carrier Corp.
Mr. Wheeler came to Baltimore in 1959 when he joined Henry Adams Inc., an electrical and mechanical engineering company of which he later became senior vice president and director of engineering.
Mr. Wheeler, a heating, refrigerating and air conditioning specialist, established Wheeler Engineering in 1987 and was president until his retirement in 2002.
He wrote widely on air conditioning and air-quality issues, was a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and had been president of its Baltimore chapter.
Mr. Wheeler, who moved to the retirement community last year, was a longtime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.
For 12 years, he assisted the church's mission with Habitat for Humanity, which renovated nine homes in the city's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood.
"He coordinated the volunteer workers, pounded nails and climbed ladders, and then personally visited the job site every Saturday even after he was unable to physically participate in the construction work," said his daughter, Susan Patricia Fay of Dedham, Mass.
charitable interest of Mr. Wheeler's was At Jacob's Well Inc., an East 25th Street nonprofit that provides housing for the homeless and mentally ill. His financial support resulted in a home for the homeless that was named "Eddie's House" after his father.
Mr. Wheeler and his wife were "always very generous with us and gave us quite a bit of money over the years," said Keith Roach, executive director.
Mr. Wheeler was an avid tennis player and surf fisherman.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. at his church, at Boyce and Carrollton avenues.
Also surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Margaret Mary Martyn; two sons, David M. Wheeler of Elkridge and Grant M. Wheeler of El Paso, Texas; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.