American Patriotic 10

       


Henry Harrison Wheeler

July 15, 1918 ~ September 21, 2018 (age 100)
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Henry H. Wheeler, born July 15, 1918, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, September 21, 2018 at the age of 100.

Henry served his country during World War II as an Intelligence Specialist (CIC) in the 12th Army Group under General Omar N. Bradley. In this role he participated in the following U.S. Army Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Normandy; Northern France; and Rhineland. Henry was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.

During the depression, Henry was educated as an accountant at the night schools of Stratford Business School and the University of Buffalo.  Simultaneously, he began his career as a bundle boy at Hens & Kelly department store in downtown Buffalo, New York.  In just a few short years, Henry was promoted to Assistant to the President. While at Hens & Kelly, Henry met his future wife, Betty Kranichfeld.  After leaving Hens & Kelly, he became Controller for Downtown Merchants Delivery Inc. --- a fleet of trucks formed by several department stores to deliver their sold merchandise.  It was at this time that Henry enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve during World War II, but just prior to his leaving to serve his country, Henry and Betty married.  During his time overseas, Henry became famous within his Group for the abundance of letters he received from his wife.  After his war military service, Henry and Betty returned to Buffalo to start a family, and Henry accepted a position as an accountant for Cease Commissary Service, Inc., a food service chain.  Over time, Henry advanced to Assistant to the President and then General Manager of Operations. In 1952, Henry left his position at Cease Commissary to go out on his own and was senior founder of Service Systems Corporation in Buffalo, as well as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Henry and his team led Service Systems to be the first in the service industry to form a conglomerate of specialized service companies.  During his tenure, the company expanded nationwide.  In 1967, he sold the company to Del Monte Corp., which in turn merged with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. He was succeeded as Chief Executive Officer of Service Systems by the late Robert D. Flickinger, junior founder and friend.

After the sale of Service Systems, Henry retired and moved his family to Fort Lauderdale.  From that point on, Henry devoted his life to Betty, his 5 sons, and his ever growing family.  He spent much of his time on the early development of Pine Crest School at its then new campus on NE 62nd Street.  He was a member of the Board of Directors for several years, a close confidant of both founder Mae McMillan and her son William J. McMillan, and was named a member of the Board of Directors Emeritus.

Together with his beloved wife Betty, Henry privately supported selected causes in charities, arts, education and individuals.

He was predeceased by Betty, the love of his life and his wife of 73 years.  He is survived by his five sons:  Christopher (Deanna) of the Village of Golf, Florida; Timothy (Lauren) of Panama City, Florida; William (Lori) of Fort Worth, Texas; James (Lisa) of Boca Raton, Florida; and Robert (Kim) of Tallahassee, Florida; 14 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.  Henry and Betty felt blessed to have had lifelong, devoted friendships with the Judelson family, the Goldstein family, the Samuels family and the Greenfield family.  The entire Wheeler family gives its heartfelt thanks to Hazel Sanders, Henry's beloved caregiver.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; attn.:  the Wheeler Fund.

 

 

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