William Augustus “Whizzer” Wheeler

TOPSHAM – William Augustus “Whizzer” Wheeler III, an early pioneer of modern manufacturing processes that have been adopted around the world, died April 7, 2020 at his home in Topsham, Maine.Whizzer was born October 24, 1938 in Worcester, Mass., to Mr. William A. and Katherine Gaskill Wheeler. At age 10, he landed his first job pumping gas for nickel tips at a local service station, launching a kaleidoscopic working career that included stints teaching high school science, skippering sailboats on the Great Lakes and conducting experimental biology research. Whizzer spent his childhood years on Stony Farm in Holden, Mass., and graduated in 1956 from Noble & Greenough School in Dedham, Mass. The year before, he was one of the last Americans to be stricken with polio before a vaccine was discovered. His battle with polio cost him three months in hospital and a lifetime of physical challenges, but it also fueled his keen ambition and drive. Whizzer began working at Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology as a teenager and took part in research that would lead to the development of L-DOPA as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. His love of research took him to Detroit for three years, where he worked at the Lafayette Research Institution and spent weekends racing sailboats on the Great Lakes. While teaching high school science, Whizzer attended a Clark University summer program and met Margaret Fallon Wheeler, his wife of 53 years. With the demands of a new family, Whizzer switched careers and worked for various manufacturing companies, including Norton Company, in Worcester, Mass., and Smith Valve in Westborough, Mass. He began traveling the country as a manufacturing consultant for Rath & Strong of Lexington, Mass., before becoming a Partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers in the accounting firm’s Manufacturing Consulting division. Whizzer was an early proponent of and global spokesman for Just-In-Time manufacturing practices. He co-authored two books, delivered hundreds of speeches and traveled to six continents as part of his work. Alas, his retirement dream of visiting Antarctica died with him.In 1996, he and Meg retired to their beloved Rydal Mount, an 1820s farmhouse in Waterford, Maine, that was built by Whizzer’s fourth great-grandfather. Whizzer indulged his lifelong love of history in retirement, gathering and curating an impressive collection of autographs and historical documents. He was proud to have been elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society. He was a Waterford town selectman, where his characteristic zeal for management saw him recalled from office, then re-elected by write-in vote of the townspeople, a former Chairman of the Board of the Birch Rock Camp for Boys in East Waterford, Maine, former board member of Maine Adaptive Sports, and former president of the Waterford Historical Society. Whizzer and Meg loved Waterford and passed their best years enjoying their four grandchildren amid the beauty of their home in western Maine. Whizzer was supported throughout his life, particularly in his declining years, by his devoted wife Meg. Together they faced each challenge with their lifelong mantra, “we’ll find a way.”In addition to his wife, Meg, Whizzer is survived by two sisters, Carol Avery of Altamonte Springs, Fla., and Beth Summer of Springfield, Ill.; his son, Seth Wheeler and daughter-in-law, Beatrice Wheeler of Meredith, N.H.; his daughter, Sarah Chingos and son-in-law, Peter Chingos of Brunswick, Maine; and four grandchildren: Gage Wheeler, Emma Wheeler, Andrew Chingos and Margaret Chingos. Memories and condolences can be shared at www.brackettfh.com. Memorial donations in Whizzer’s name may be made to: Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation,8 Sundance LaneNewry, ME 04261

Guest Book