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Jack Anderson Wheat, of Farmington passed from this life on Friday, May 8, 2020 at the age of 92, one week after testing positive for COVID 19. He was residing at the Life Care Center of Farmington NM.
Jack was born on June 09, 1927 in Loco, OK to Roy O. Wheat and Della Hines. He was the youngest of 6 children and the family moved to Farmington, NM on February 14, 1935. After graduating from Farmington High School as a member of the National Honor Society in 1947, he served in the US Navy aboard the aircraft carrier US Valley Forge. He returned to Farmington and married Arlena Merle McFarland in 1950. Together, they raised 4 children while serving God, their community and their family for 60 years.
Jack began his service as an evangelist in 1969 working as the preaching minister for the Eastside Church of Christ for eight years before beginning his work as a chaplain and on the advisory council for Navajo Mission, Inc.
Starting in 1974 Jack served for 8 years as the first full-time hospital chaplain at San Juan Regional Medical Center where he developed the chaplaincy program. Jack was honored by SJRMC with a Legacy of Leadership Award Hall of Fame Tribute in 2012. He also served as the Farmington Police Department chaplain commander, during which time he was selected to attend a FBI seminar at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.
A significant part of his ministry focused heavily on reducing alcohol and drug abuse as well as reducing suicide rates. He was one of the original founders of the Totah Council on Alcoholism and served as its president for three years. Jack was also a founder of the Narcotics Actions Group which was a precursor to San Juan Citizens Against Drug Abuse. He served on the Board of Directors for an organization called Teen Challenge which housed troubled teens. Jack was a co-founder, charter member and secretary of Crime Stoppers.
He was a past president of the Farmington Ministerial Association and member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains Association. Jack also worked for Basin Mortuary, Cope Memorial Chapel, and Alternative Choice before he finally retired.
In 1974 and 1990 because of his service to the community Jack was awarded the Woodmen of the World Citizenship Award for commendable service to the community.
Jack loved serving others and sharing the peace and grace of the Lord to all he met. It has been estimated that he performed or conducted well over 3,000 weddings and funerals through the years, which no doubt was the inspiration for receiving the VFW Service Award. The last 3-1/2 years Jack’s home was at Life Care Center of Farmington. There he continued his service to the Lord by hosting Bible study for the residents every Tuesday morning along with Dennis Foutz and Jim Capps. Everyone at Life Care knew and loved Jack as he walked up and down the halls encouraging staff and residents alike.
Going on before Jack were his brother, Raymond Wheat; his sisters, Marguerite Wheat Williams, Bennie Jo Wheat Sledge, and Virginia Wheat Birdwell. Also in 2010 his wife of 60 years, Arlena McFarland Wheat and his son, James Sherman Wheat.
Left behind to celebrate Jack’s life are his 98 year young sister, Viva Wheat McFarland, sister-in-law Myrna Bell McFarland, and his foster sister, Martha Woolman Morrison. Also, son, Loren Wheat and wife Cheryl Peterson Wheat; daughters Jacque Wheat Graham; Janeen Wheat McSwain and husband Rex; and son, Dennis Foutz and daughter, Sandy Poteet Foutz. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren and their spouses, Jennifer Salazar, Vanessa Salazar Brown, Zachary Wheat, James Wheat, Matthew Wheat, Shayna Prator Halterman and Amanda Prator Murray; 13 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. And, of course, numerous other family, friends, brothers and sisters all waiting their turn at reuniting with those who have gone before.
Here is a little history that will recall some of the familial bonds we have been blessed to know over the years. While our father, Jack was in junior high he and Douglas Woolman became close, best friends. Through the love of Douglas, his mother Jenny and father Marcus, Dad became a part of their family and all the Woolmans loved Jack as their own. Thanks and blessings for Grandma Woolman, Papa and Aunt Shelley, Uncle Shirley, Aunt Rose, Aunt Carralena, Uncle Douglas, Aunt Mary and Aunt Martha.
Also, in 1942, Uncle Clyde McFarland married Aunt Viva Wheat and Dad had a new brother-in-law in Uncle Clyde. Then, in 1950 Dad married Arlena McFarland, who was Uncle Clyde's sister. So, Jack and Clyde became brother-in-laws again! This meant that Clyde and Viva’s three boys, DeeWayne, Paul Roy and Perry were now Arlena and Jack’s double nephews. Then along came Loren, Sherman, Jacque and Janeen. Now Viva and Clyde had double nephews and nieces. Therefore, all their children were double cousins! This might help explain a little how the Wheat kids were so spoiled! Thank you and God bless all our family and friends. We love and appreciate each one of you!!
The family would like to thank all of the staff at Life Care Center of Farmington. Dad was blessed by Echo Woolman Favaloro, a member of our extended family who worked at Life Care as a nursing student. She paid special attention to Dad and kept him updated on all of the family and town news. A very special thank you to Linda Yeager who was with dad daily when he was moved to isolation. Linda was able to pray with our dad just before Jesus welcomed him home.
Furthermore, thank you to Nancy Kester who on her frequent visits provided him jelly beans and Dr. Pepper, and to Marsha Dodd who during the lockdown delivered dad’s final 12 pack of Dr. Pepper. Although we could not be there, we know dad was well taken care of by Life Care, friends and family. Thanks again Dennis and Sandy Foutz, you’re an awesome brother and sister!
Because of the confusion that has accompanied this virus, memorial arrangements are pending with Farmington Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Navajo Ministries.
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