Wayne Phillip Wheatley passed away on November 28, 2022 at Medicalodge Nursing Home in Butler, MO.
Wayne was born a twin on April 23, 1925, one of nine children to Fred and Nell Ayer Wheatley on the family farm. It is still up for discussion who was born first—but we think it was very close.
Wayne attended Mission Branch and then Rich Hill High School, graduating in 1944. The roller skating rink in Rich Hill was a popular place on Saturday nights with Wayne and Warren and classmate, Doris. After graduation, Wayne immediately started his long farming career of 63 years. Wayne was a member of Mound Zion Methodist Church and later in life transferred his membership to Rich Hill Methodist Church.
In December 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Doris Wanda Lee Essenpries. They were the proud parents of Terry Wayne, born December 31, 1948, and Larry Alan, born November 12, 1953. Wayne and Doris’ marriage of 71 years was that of a true farm family—milk cows, row crops, cattle, and all the work that came with it. He enjoyed his “free time” tractor pulling in the area. Helping by his side was his trusted farmhand, Dorsey Durfee, who worked for Wayne for many years, living a short distance from the family farm.
Starting in April 1946, for 51 years the birthday of Wayne and Warren was celebrated with a family picnic. The afternoon was spent visiting, roasting hot dogs, drinking unlimited cans of pop, family baseball, and horseshoes. The last picnic was held in 1997.
Wayne hauled cattle to the KC Stockyards for the area on Sunday evenings, stopping back in Harrisonville on the way home, enjoying a meal at the Wagon Wheel. Wayne and business partners bought the RH Sale Barn and conducted weekly sales for the surrounding community. He enjoyed being active in many organizations in his life, always willing to help the community. Organizations and clubs included the Butler Saddle Club, Federal Land Bank, Production Credit Association, and Rich Hill Elks.
He spent 6 years serving the residents of Bates County as Southern Judge. Wayne was proud to be a charter 50-year-member of the Rich Hill Lions Club. If you were born into the Wheatley family, you were destined to play cards, with pitch being the game of choice. In later years, Wayne enjoyed afternoons at the Pitch Parlor spent with his brothers Alan and Jim as well as other community members.
In 2007, Wayne had a dispersal auction of his farming equipment. He remained in the family home until he deemed it was time to move to town in 2013, purchasing a home on Park Avenue. He was exceptionally proud of having one the best seats in town for the 4th of July Parade. He told Terry and Ruth to let him know when his bed was moved so he would know where to sleep that night. He enjoyed his days in town. A regular morning routine included a stop by Wheatley Bookkeeping to check on Sonny Boy. He enjoyed many meals at Rich Hill Café with great-granddaughter Avery.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Doris and son, Larry. Wayne is survived by his son, Terry Wheatley and wife Ruth; granddaughter, Tara Wheatley; great-granddaughter, Avery Wheatley; brother, Alan; sisters, Joanne Buhr, and Janice (Ronald) Bolser; sister-in-law, Phyllis Wheatley; special family friend, Mitzi Knight; nieces, nephews, and numerous friends.
The family suggests contributions to the Mark Wheatley Memorial Scholarship in care of Heuser Funeral Home. Funeral Service will be Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Heuser Funeral Home in Rich Hill, MO with visitation from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Interment will be at Green Lawn Cemetery, Rich Hill, MO.