John Wheaton, a resident of East Hampton, died on Feb. 5 while on vacation on Aruba after having been ill with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, for 18 months. He was 69.
Mr. Wheaton was born on Aug. 1, 1942, to the former Blanche L’Hureuix and Walter Wheaton in Hartford, Conn. He graduated from Holy Cross College and lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. Mr. Wheaton still holds the record as the starting quarterback for Holy Cross’s varsity team for four consecutive years.
Mr. Wheaton worked in insurance during the early 1970s at House General Insurance Company, and was the vice president of operations. He later worked for W.R. Berkley Corporation and then became the president and chief executive officer of Equitable General Insurance.
He relocated to East Hampton in 1984, and worked for the Edward F. Cook Agency as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He founded Wheaton Enterprises, an insurance consulting firm that specialized in finance and management practices, in 1992.
Mr. Wheaton met Holly Reichart, an East Hampton native, while they both worked at the Edward F. Cook Agency. Four years later, they both moved to Chicago together, where they ran an insurance brokerage firm for 12 years. They were married on July 3, 1991, in Chicago.
After “being convinced that Lake Michigan was not an ocean,” his wife said, they moved back to East Hampton in 1997. Mr. Wheaton worked as a consultant for several insurance agencies, and spent time with his family.
According to his wife, Mr. Wheaton was an accomplished golfer and won tournaments in the United States and abroad. In the early ’80s, Mr. Wheaton beat Arnold Palmer at the Xerox Invitational. He also enjoyed clamming, fishing, and his grandchildren. Mr. Wheaton spent many summer nights barbecuing at Maidstone Park with good friends and family.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Wheaton is survived by four children, Ryann Brennan of East Hampton, Michael Wheaton and Shelly Wheaton of Fort Worth, and William Wheaton of Colonial Beach, Va. He is also survived by seven grandchildren.
A graveside memorial service will be held on March 3 at 2 p.m. at the Green River Cemetery in Springs.