Like many small villages across the country, there is a certain charm in Webberville. Neighbors help neighbors. One resident stands out though, Mr. Bill Wheeler this week’s Good Neighbor.
Mark Forbush is the State Director for the Future Farmers of America and a fan of Bill Wheeler.
“There isn't an Ag teacher that doesn't know who Bill Wheeler is anywhere in our state, and many around regionally as well. He was so kind, and he was so genuine. And he spent time with each and every person and got to know you personally.”
No matter who you talk to from Webberville, you get the same story when you mention Bill Wheeler’s name.
Bill Schoff taught with Bill Wheeler at Webberville Schools.
"I don't know if anybody didn't think of Bill as their best friend. And you were his best friend. That's what he brought to you. And that's what he gave to you in kind of a magical way."
Bill Wheeler spent the majority of his life in Webberville. For over three decades, he was a teacher. For over 40 years, he coordinated the annual crop to end hunger. Mr. Wheeler was very involved with Webberville FFA, the garden club, the Masonic Lodge, the Lions, the list goes on and on. He was even Webberville’s Citizen of the year.
This past month Mr. Wheeler lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bill Wheeler loved people, and his reach was wide!
“We live in Florida in the winter,” says Bill’s friend Tom Slider. “We live in the small town of Inglewood, which is maybe the size of Fowlerville. We were having lunch one day, and a guy at the table next to us asked, ‘You guys from Michigan?’ ‘Yeah, we're from Michigan.’ ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Webberville.’ ‘Hey, do you know Bill Wheeler?’ That happened 1300 miles away!”
A year ago, the Webberville Downtown Development Authority was looking for a way to honor Mr. Wheeler for his contributions to the village. That’s when they came up with this unique idea. A statue made out of old tractor parts that resembles the man so many love and respect.
Mr. Wheeler had an opportunity to see the statue and his son David said he was overwhelmed.
“The best compliment is if the person that is still alive that you do something for says, “Wow, how did you know that I love tractor parts? That they're imperfect, but when you put them together, bang Look what you got; something that looks like me.” The biggest thing is his heart was always on the outside.”
Jeannie Bauer-Bosworth is a former student and Bill’s friend.
“The artists who made this said that he is watching over the town as people come and go and welcome them. And also, as the kids grow up and move out of town and go on to their new life and their new journey, he's saying, so long, I wish you the best. But remember where your roots come from!”
Bill Wheeler, for your contribution to the village of Webberville, your dedication to FFA, and the thousands of students and teachers you mentored…you are this weeks’ Good Neighbor.
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