SOUTH HAVEN, Feb. 15–Funeral services, followed by reburial in Lakeview Cemetery here, were held Sunday afternoon for Pfc. Eugene John Wheeler, who was 20 years old when he was killed in action on the island of New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands, where he was temporarily buried.
The body arrived Friday at 9 p.m. at Bangor, accompanied from the Chicago distribution center, by a military escort, Marine Sgt. John Wynrowski, of Pennsylvania.
The funeral was a large one, with so many attending that the second floor of the Everson Funeral Home also was filled, besides 37 relatives. The casket, covered with a large American flag, was surrounded with floral offerings.
Pfc. Wheeler was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Wheeler, 216 Clinton Street. He was born in South Haven and was graduated from South Haven High School in June, 1942, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in island warfare until he was killed in action, [July] 20, 1943.
Services were conducted at the Everson Funeral Home, with the Rev. G. A. Uldin, pastor of the Assembly of God Tabernacle officiating. Hymns, “In the Garden” and “Face to Face” were played.
A guard of honor from the memorial and rifle team of the Edward W. Thompson Post No. 49, American Legion, stood at the head and foot of the casket from its arrival until the funeral.
Graveside services were conducted, following the minister’s prayer, by Dwain Murphy, captain of the memorial team and Joseph Gorman, chaplain, followed by the firing of three volleys over his grave and the blowing of “Taps,” by buglers. The escort from the memorial team preceded the casket, on foot and furnished the casket bearers.
Historian’s note: Eugene J. Wheeler held the rank of private when he was KIA on New Georgia.