Saturday, June 22, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Ronald E. Wheeler

Prepared by: Juliette Wheeler (wife)

Ronald ‘Ron’ Wheeler was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 30, 1952. In 1971, while attending University of Missouri Conservatory of Music, Ron enlisted in the Navy, attended NTC San Diego Bootcamp, and participated with the Navy Choir – pursuing his passion with music.

Graduating from Aviation Hydraulics School in Millington, Tennessee, Airman Wheeler transferred to Strike Fighter Squadron (VA-25) at NAS Lemoore, and in 1976, embarked onboard USS Ranger. After a challenging deployment, Wheeler attended S-3A Maintenance School/Sea Control Squadron 41 at North Island, where he knew Coronado would be his forever home.

Wheeler was assigned to VS-33 at North Island and embarked onboard USS America, then reassigned to the VS-41 maintenance shop. In 1983, Ron made the world cruise aboard the newly christened USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

After completing sea and shore duty at North Island, he and his family transferred to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. There, Ron was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Three years later, Chief Wheeler served as a leading Chief to Helicopter Squadron 3 on North Island, until retiring in 1994.

After retirement, Ron nurtured his music career, which began by joining the Coronado band ‘Jump Start.’ Switching to more easy-going acoustics, he gathered a few friends to create ‘Ron’s Garage’ (RGB). RGB was first hired by local coffee shop, Café 1134, and subsequently hired by McP’s, CBC, and Island Sports and Spirits. From 1996 to 2007, RGB played at the Hotel Del Coronado Sun Deck on summer weekends. RGB played at Coronado’s Concert in the Park for the first time in 1996.

Ron was also a one-on-one para-educator for special needs students at Coronado Unified School District, retiring after 12 years. His wife, Juliette was also a Coronado educator. Throughout the years, Ron donated musical services for auction at the yearly Coronado Schools fundraiser and other Coronado fundraisers.

Ron and RGB have become an integral part of the Coronado community. Providing not only the highest quality music, but the sincere love and appreciation of the community in which he lives.

The Wheeler family includes his wife Juliette, daughters Misty (Sam) Dowker, Jessica Wheeler, his son Jason (Christal) Wheeler, and grandchildren Maxwell, Freya, Austin, Aiden, Aryanna, Logan and Corey.

The Avenue of Heroes military service recognition program is sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 246 hometown heroes to date. On November 4, 2023, another 16 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation.
In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. That moment made clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes.
That spontaneous beginning launched the program in May 2015 with 18 banners. The Avenue of Heroes is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to the country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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