Thomas J. Wheeler is being remembered as a golfer, drummer, and family man this week after a car accident claimed his life on Saturday. He was 43 and lived in Sag Harbor.
Mr. Wheeler was the passenger in his Ford Mustang that day when it left Brick Kiln Road in Noyac, crashed into a tree, and caught fire, killing him and the driver, Manuel J. Cunha Jr. (whose obituary also appears in this issue).
A carpenter by trade, Mr. Wheeler briefly gave up that work several years ago and opened East End Prime, a specialty meat and seafood store on Division Street in Sag Harbor. At the time of his death, Mr. Wheeler was working in construction again and had employed Mr. Cunha.
In his free time, Mr. Wheeler played drums in a band with his brother David Wheeler of Sag Harbor.
The day before his death, Mr. Wheeler and his wife celebrated their three-year wedding anniversary. The couple had one child together, and Mr. Wheeler had two other children from an earlier relationship. His wife, Linda Wheeler, had two children from a past marriage.
Mr. Wheeler was born in Utica, N.Y., on Aug. 17, 1967, and grew up in Sag Harbor, where he attended Pierson High School. A pasta dinner fund-raiser for the families of both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Cunha will be held at the school on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
In addition to his wife and brother, Mr. Wheeler is survived by another brother, William Wheeler of Newton, N.C., and by two sisters, Deborah Topping, also of Newton, and Gina Urban of Albany. Mr. Wheeler is also survived by his parents, Robert and Frances Wheeler, who live in North Carolina, and by three children, Thomas Wheeler, Lukas Wheeler, and Mason Wheeler, all of Sag Harbor. Two stepchildren, Raymond Pettigrew Jr. and Kristin Pettigrew, both of Sag Harbor, survive him, as does a grandmother, Lucille L. Maynard.
Visiting hours will be held today from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.
Memorial donations can be made to Bridgehampton National Bank, in care of Linda Wheeler, P.O. Box 3005, Bridgehampton 11932.