Donald Harold Wheaton, longtime Edmonton businessman and community leader, passed away on Dec. 29, 2011 in Naples, Florida at the age of 88.
Don was born in Saskatoon, Sask. on Oct. 7, 1923, the youngest of five children of Albert and Electa Wheaton. He developed an interest in cars at a young age, watching his brother tinker with his old car in the family’s driveway.
After serving as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, Don returned to Saskatoon in 1946. It was there he started his first business, a concession stand at the community swimming pool, and married Marion Sparling in 1948.
The next year, the newlyweds moved to Porcupine Plain, Sask., where Don became a partner in a general store and later acquired his first General Motors franchise. His success as a car dealer led to his move to Edmonton in 1961, where he established Don Wheaton Chevrolet on Whyte Avenue.
The family business expanded over the years to include several automotive dealerships, aviation services, insurance, and Canada’s first privately held chartered bank.
Don was an enthusiastic supporter of a wide variety of community and charitable causes, dedicated to improving the lives of families and children in the community. He inspired his family and many others to do the same.
Don’s interests expanded beyond aviation to motor cycling, boating, and a love of travel and adventure.
Don is survived by Marion, his beloved wife of 63 years, and their eight children, Jane, Ann (Ralph), Donald (Kim), Will (Jadeene), David (Jackie), Ross (Trona), Ruth (Stephen) and Herbert (Scarlett), 34 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations to Edmonton’s Bissell Centre, 10527-96th Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 2H6 (www.bissellcentre.org) would be greatly appreciated.