Gary Kent Wheatly, D.D.S., 78, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and formerly Lawton, Oklahoma, passed away at home and was welcomed to his Heavenly home on February 16, 2021.
In honor of the Christian legacy he leaves, his obituary must begin the way he started the Sunday School class he taught at Liberty Heights Christian Church in Lawton, OK, for more than thirty years: I’m just Gary Wheatly. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I believe that He died for my sins and rose again. Because I believe this, I am a child of God and will have eternal life.
Gary was born to parents Zackie Shadid Wheatly and Leonard “Wheat” Wheatly on January 22, 1943, in Sayre, Oklahoma. Gary graduated from Lawton High School, Cameron University, and the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. Dr. Wheatly practiced family dentistry in Lawton, OK, for 47 years.
He married Susan Guill Wheatly in 1967 and was happily married until her death in 1997. They had two children: Keri Wheatly Shields and Kristin Wheatly Pebsworth. In 2012, Gary married his high school sweetheart, Jean Rawlings Meaney.
He served the community for ten years as an elected member of the Lawton Public School Board, serving two terms as president. He served many years on the board for the Lawton Country Club as the Greens Chairman. Most important, he was a member of Liberty Heights Christian Church where he served as Chairman of the Board, elder, long-time adult Sunday School teacher, and choir member. After moving to Hilton Head permanently in 2018, he attended St. Luke’s Church.
Golf was Gary’s favorite pastime. Learning to play when his father was on staff at the Fort Sill Officers Course, he spent countless hours honing his skills. When asked about making eleven holes in one, he replied, “The ball’s got to go somewhere!” Gary’s best friendships -- spanning decades and generations -- were made on golf courses, primarily the Lawton Country Club, The Territory in Duncan, OK, and Bear Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head. Best friend John Jeter said you always knew where "Wheatly" was because he was surrounded by laughter.
Gary is survived by his wife Jean and his daughters Keri (George) Shields and Kristin (Wes) Pebsworth and stepdaughter Leli (Matt) Holmes. He is survived by his grandchildren Grant Shields and Susan Shields, Ryan Peoples (Pebsworth), and step-grandchildren Gretchen, Asher, and Ella Holmes. He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law Rita and James Carley and family, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Jennifer and Vern Thomas and family, and many beloved cousins, nephews, and nieces. Gary considered Todd and Jennifer Holland and their children part of his family as well.
He is predeceased by his wife Susan Guill Wheatly, parents Zackie Shadid Wheatly and Leonard Wheatly, sister-in-law Georgeanne Guill Pardini, and niece Theresa Hayes.
A celebration of life service will be held in Hilton Head, SC, on Monday, April 5th at 2:00 pm EST at St. Luke’s Church (50 Pope Avenue, Hilton Head, SC, 29928). If you are unable to attend in person, the service will be live streamed https://www.youtube.com/stlukeshhi.
A memorial service will be held in Lawton, OK, on Saturday, June 5th at 1:00 pm at Liberty Heights Christian Church (1802 NW Elm Ave. Lawton, OK, 73507) with a private family burial following.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Cameron Foundation Jason Jeter Golf Scholarship (2800 West Gore Boulevard, Lawton, OK, 73505) or to Liberty Heights Christian Church (1802 NW Elm Ave. Lawton, OK, 73507)
The best gift you could ever give to Gary Wheatly is to allow Jesus into your heart.