Moon Wheeler

Died: Wed., Jul. 2, 2014


Visitation

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Wed., Jul. 09, 2014
Location: St Mary's Catholic Church


Vigil Service

7:00 PM Wed., Jul. 09, 2014
Location: St Mary's Catholic Church


Visitation

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Thu., Jul. 10, 2014
Location: St Mary's Catholic Church


Funeral Mass

11:00 AM Thu., Jul. 10, 2014
Location: St Mary's Catholic Church


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Former Idaho State Senator, Ralph Merrill "Moon" Wheeler, Jr. passed away suddenly at his home in American Falls, Idaho on the morning of July 2, 2014. Moon was born in American Falls on August 10, 1932, the son of Ralph M., and Monne Zemo Wheeler. The Wheeler family homesteaded in the Rockland Valley in 1910. Moon was educated in American Falls, graduating from high school in 1950. He was active in athletics and was Student Body President. After attending the University of Idaho for one year, Moon transferred to Idaho State University. He was graduated from ISU in 1954 with a degree in Pharmacy. He returned immediately to American Falls, taking over the management of the Rockland Pharmacy from his father. He expanded into new, larger quarters in 1962, and again in 1976. He sold the business in 1988, and retired. He retained the family dry farm in Rockland (wheat) until 2008.
Moon married Patricia Howard in Reno, Nevada in 1951. Four children were born-Vickie, Michael, Edward, and Jodi. Pat died in November of 1964. Moon married Ann Reed in Norwich, Connecticut, on June 19th, 1965. Two sons, Clark and Ryan, were born to this marriage. They had celebrated their 49th anniversary less than two weeks before Moon's death.
Moon's life was one of commitment and contributing, to family and community. He believed in his town, his county, his state and his country. He demonstrated that belief through his public service in his political career, and community activities.
He was looked upon as a mentor by many he worked with. He was considered forthright and fair in addressing issues. He had 39 years in elected office, starting in 1957, and ending in 2002, with one six year gap. He served as a city councilman and mayor of American Falls, as a member of the Idaho State House of Representatives, Commissioner for Power County, and as an Idaho State Senator. While mayor, Moon spearheaded the American Falls Marina, (sometimes referred to as "Moon's Lagoon") and the Senior Citizen Housing complex. His pharmacy employees devised a "Rent-A- Mayor" fundraiser to benefit a terminally ill teenaged resident. The effort went nationwide. He served as the President of the Idaho Cities Association, and was the AIC Legislative Chair. During his two terms in the House, he was honored as the Outstanding New Legislator for Idaho by Rutgers University, and sponsored the bill establishing statewide kindergarten in the public schools. Moon was also the author of the Constitutional Amendment establishing the Idaho Legislative Compensation Committee in 1976.  In 12 years as a Power County Commissioner, he spent much of that time as the Legislative Chair for the Idaho Association of Counties, and on the Board of SEICOG.
In 1994, Moon was elected to the Idaho State Senate, an honor he treasured. During his time there he served on Health and Welfare and Local Government and Taxation Committees, along with many interim committee assignments.  He chaired the Indian Affairs Council, and was honored by the Idaho Tribes as an "adopted member". He served until the end of 2002.  Throughout his years of public service, Moon worked tirelessly to improve the treatment of, and for, the mentally ill.
Moon was a big Idaho State University supporter, and served on the ISU Alumni Board for some time. He was at the basketball game when ISU beat UCLA, and took great joy in that moment.  He was on the Dean's Advisory Board for the College of Pharmacy for many years, and was given the College of Pharmacy's Professional Achievement Award in 1999.  The American Falls High School Education Foundation gave Moon its' first “Outstanding Alumna Award" in1998. The Foundation honored Moon and his wife Ann with its “Heritage Award" in 2009.
Away from politics, he owned and ran the family pharmacy from 1954-1988. He did relief work for several more years, until post-polio developed. Moon had contracted polio in 1955, but was able to rehab enough to work on his feet for another 34 years, as well as enjoy all manner of outdoor activities. He had a particular love for two of those activities, family camping, and fly fishing on as many rivers as he and his fishing compadres could get to. Trips to Alaska and Hell's Canyon were two of the standout memories. As post-polio took its' toll in the 1990's, the rafting and fly-fishing had to stop. At that point gardening took over. Moon's roses and other flowers have been known for their variety and beauty, even though he fought through a bout of cancer he continued to keep the yard and garden up.
In 2010, Moon became part of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the American Falls Water and Sewer Project. The grand tour of the finished project was held on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.
Moon was predeceased by his parents, his first wife, Pat, his infant son Edward, and his son Michael. He is survived by his loving family-his wife Ann, his children, Vickie (Jon) Smith, Jodi Carlson, Clark Wheeler, Ryan Wheeler, three grandchildren, Kristi Mashni, Chad Smith, and Dylan Carlson, and one great grandson, Ryker Smith. Several cousins and nephews also survive. He was a life-long member of the Catholic Church. A Mass of the Resurrection will be said at 11:00 Thursday morning, July10, 2014, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in American Falls, celebrated by Rev. Thomas Faucher. There will be a viewing on Wednesday night at 6:00 PM, followed by the saying of the Rosary at 7:00. There will be an additional viewing an hour before services on Thursday.
Recommended memorial donations are to the Portneuf Cancer Center in Pocatello, the Idaho State University College of Pharmacy, or a charity of choice.  Condolences and memories may be shared at davisrosemortuary.com.

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Condolence Booklet

Bill Ryan
   Posted Thu July 03, 2014
I am truly upset about Moon's passing, and am sorry I did not get to write an American Falls story for his approval.
He was one of those rare good guys the world needs more of. His passing leaves a big hole in my list of Idaho friends that I love talking with.
Bill Ryan

Arlen Wittrock
   Posted Thu July 03, 2014
We have lost a great friend and Idaho leader. Moon provided many, many years of tremendous leadership at the state and local level. He was an "old school" politician in the very best sense. On a personal note, Moon played a key role in the decision my family and I made to move to Idaho from Minnesota in 1997. I will always be grateful.
To Ann and family, my condolences as you have lost a wonderful man. Blessings to you during this difficult time as we also celebrate Moon's life and the hope and promise of eternal life in Heaven through the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Arlen Wittrock

Larry Chase
   Posted Fri July 04, 2014
Rest in peace, Moon. You were a gentleman and a scholar. I wish today's legislators had your common sense and reasoning ability.

Kelly and Carolyn Warner
   Posted Fri July 04, 2014
Ann and family. You're in our thoughts and prayers. We worked together at AFHS from '63-'66.

karen mcgee
   Posted Fri July 04, 2014
Ann and family, KC and I were so sad to learn of your loss. Moon was a GREAT man and will be missed. Our love and thoughts are with you

Dennis and Marianne Hansen
   Posted Fri July 04, 2014
Ann,

We were surprised and saddened to hear of Moon's passing. We want to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Moon was a colorful character and we both enjoyed working with him in the Senate. No one could play solitaire on their laptop during long boring debates and get away with it, like Moon did.

We hope your great memories will give you comfort at this sad time.
Our thoughts are with you.

Lynn Fogerson
   Posted Sat July 05, 2014
Ann, My Deepest sympathies to you and your family. Moon was a truly remarkable man and he was always caring and giving to everyone. He will be missed by everyone that had a opportunity to know him.

Donna Boe
   Posted Sat July 05, 2014
Ann and family, I was really sorry to read of Moon's recent death. I knew him by reputation as a moderate Republican senator, but it was after his senate career that I had a chance to work with him. He worked very hard with the Regional Substance Abuse Authority to reduce substance abuse and its effects. Moon acted as the liaison from our district RSAA to the state legislature in spite of his increasing physical disabilities. Throughout all of this, he maintained his great wit and sense of humor. I feel privileged to have known and worked with Moon.

Steve & Pam Ahrens
   Posted Sat July 05, 2014
Ann - Pam and I are truly saddened to hear about Moon. His style and class represented a generation of legislators who, despite normal philosophical differences, shared a common interest in and dedication to "getting things done" to improve the Idaho society we all live in. First as a political editor, then as a representative of the forest products industry, and finally on behalf of the Idaho business community, I enjoyed the many opportunities to work with Moon. He always listened, he always understood, and even when he voted differently than I had hoped, I knew it was because he had solid information that led him to that conclusion for professional, never personal, reasons. The state will miss Moon, as do we, and you have our sympathy, Ann.

Virginia Galizia
   Posted Sat July 05, 2014
I was so sad to hear about Moon's passing. He was a gentleman and Statesman throughout his lifetime. His flashing smile and endearing nature were the essence to anyone who knew him. His kindness and focus on others are a testimony to his family and professional life. He will be surely missed by all.

Rest in Pearce, Moon. Your spirit will live on in others, including myself.

Frank Casabonne
   Posted Sun July 06, 2014
Thank you Moon for hiring for my first pharmacy job in 1978. My 3 years at Rockland Pharmacy was a great learning experience and prepared me for my later career. Your dedication and commitment to pharmacy led to my involvement with ISPA and a 10 year stint on the Board of Pharmacy.
Thank you Moon for your belief in me and mentoring me at the start of my pharmacy career. You will be missed!
Thoughts and prayers to Ann and the family!

Mariln Buxton
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
Ann, so sorry to hear of Moon's passing. His smile and graciousness is what I remember when ever he passed by the Information Center. Lovely memories of you and Senator Moon.

Marilyn Buxton

Bill Byrne
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
Ann, I am so sorry to learn of Moon's death. Both of you were so kind to me as a new, very young ISU alumni director, and I've never forgotten all that you did for me. Bill

Bob and Tammy Geddes
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
Ann and Family,

Tammy and I are saddened by the passing of this great man. It was an honor to serve with him in the Idaho State Senate and experience on a daily basis his common sense and extra ordinary good judgement. His passing is a loss to our State. We will forever cherish our memories and love for the Wheeler family. May the knowledge of a life so filled with service to others and so well lived bring comfort and peace at such a difficult time.

Bob and Tammy Geddes

brian and janis thomas
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
Ann, Janis and I are saddened to hear of Moon's sudden departure. Our love and thoughts are with you and the family.

Linda Sonnen
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
I worked for Moon for eleven years at the Pharmacy and was always impressed by his business ethics and his compassion. Bob and I have been blessed to count Moon as a friend and to learn from his vast knowledge. We have always enjoyed our time together. Ann, we are so sorry for your loss, but sad for our own loss as well. Rest in the loving arms of your Lord Moon.

Stephen Weeg
   Posted Mon July 07, 2014
Moon set a standard of service and behavior as an elected official. He was always thoughtful,engaging, respectful and had the ability to work with everyone to get things done. His beliefs were firmly held and guided Moon in his endeavors and helped shape the outcomes that worked for many. His personality, style, wit, and intelligence will be sorely missed.

Jeannine Wood
   Posted Tue July 08, 2014
Ann, I was saddened to learn of Moon's passing. I enjoyed working with him in the Senate and truly enjoyed my friendship with both him and you. May God's peace and understanding be with you and your family at this most difficult time.

Jeannine Wood

Ric Branch
   Posted Tue July 08, 2014
Ann and family,

It was an honor to serve with Moon in the Idaho State Senate. He was always upbeat and gregarious. It was always a pleasure to visit with Moon on a daily basis and I truly treasured his friendship and counsel. God be with you in this time of loss.

Sincerely,

Ric Branch

Aliceann Doyle
   Posted Tue July 08, 2014

GRANDMA'S GARDEN TABLE BASKET was sent by cousins A. Doyle and J. Burke.

We have always been proud to have a compassionate, intelligent, accomplished and brave cousin in Moon. We are deeply saddened to know of his passing. We send our sincere regrets and warmest thoughts to Ann and all of the family. Love Aliceann Doyle and Joanne Burke


Andrew Gauss
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
Ann and family,
I have such admiration for the civic leadership and dedication Moon had to his community, and profession. He was one of my "go to" leaders for objective opinion as a young professional in my career as a reporter, and later in pharmacy communications. My condolences for your loss.

Jeremy Chase
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
Ann and family,

I'm very sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. I have many fond memories of him while growing up in A.F., and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kim and Kathleen Crompton
   Posted Tue July 15, 2014
Ann, Vickie, and family,
Kathleen and I want to add our belated condolences to those listed here. When I think of the greatest leaders and role models American Falls has had during my lifetime, Moon certainly ranks at or near the top. The community was very fortunate to have a leader of his caliber and character for so many years, and I hope that the stellar example he set will serve as a template for future civic and political leaders there. His passing has left a huge void. We are so sorry for your loss. Moon's wonderful legacy, though, lives on. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. God bless.

Jim Weatherby
   Posted Wed July 30, 2014
Ann,
When I think of Moon, I hear laughter. I think of all of the hours he spent hearing about and working mostly on other people’s issues as county commissioner, mayor, state representative or state senator. I remember his many contributions as President of the Association of Idaho Cities and legislative chair of the Idaho Association of Counties.

My first real memory of Moon was when I was at the Association of Idaho Cities in the mid-1970s. He successfully sponsored our AIC-IAC bill, “The Cash Basis Act of 1976”. When Governor Andrus later signed it into law, he called it the “most significant change in local government budgeting since statehood.” I’ll never forget Moon explaining this complex piece of legislation on the House floor by referring to the chamber’s big clock and using its hands to illustrate how the local budgeting and taxing cycles would better coordinate under our bill. He did so with clarity and credibility, hallmarks of his public service career.

Ann, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have so much enjoyed knowing you and Moon and all of the great conversations we have had over the years. My sincerest sympathies to you and your family. Jim Weatherby

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