July 14, 1937 - November 21, 2021
Delbert Ray Wheat passed peacefully in his sleep on the morning of November 21st, 2021 at the Brookdale Harbor Bay Memory Care Facility in Gig Harbor, WA. He was born on July 14th, 1937 in Bakersfield, CA to Hubert Eugene and Hettie Ina (Hartline) Wheat. The family moved back to Oklahoma when he was seven months old. He started school in Luther, then State Center, then Harrah until 1950 when they sold everything at auction and moved to Missouri Valley, IA where he graduated from high school. He joined the Navy a short time later right after his 18th birthday in 1955. He attended Navy boot camp and Radioman school in San Diego and honorably served at the following naval establishments and ships: NAVCOMMSTA San Francisco, CA, NAVCOMMSTA Guam, USS Frank Knox DDR-742, teletype and crypto repair schools Norfolk, VA, USS Independence CVA-62, NAVCOMMSTA Morocco, NAVRADSTA Portsmouth, VA, USS Shasta AE-6, USS Denebola AF-56, Eighth Naval District New Orleans, LA, Naval District Washington DC/Northern Virginia Community College, USS Albany CG-10, USS Forrestal CV-59, and Naval Telecommunications Center, Hampton Roads, VA. He retired from the Navy in October 1982 at NAVCAMSLANT Norfolk, VA where he was the Command Master Chief. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (7 awards), Navy Expeditionary Medal (2 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, plus and inspirational leadership award from the Navy League. After leaving the navy, he worked in telecommunications for various government contractors in Virginia Beach and northern Virginia until he retired in August 2001. He was married to Marjorie Mae Kemp on February 20th, 1970 in Elizabeth City, NC. They had three sons, Alan Ray Wheat, Jeffrey Roy Wheat and Jason Roland Wheat. They also raised her daughter Regina Lee Kemp Wheat. They separated in 1981 and were later divorced. He is a lifetime member of the VFW Post 1503, The American Legion Post 28, The Armed Forces Top Enlisted Association, and The Fleet Reserve Association. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his sisters Vergie Lois Stichler, Betty Lou Winey, Ethel Lorene (Katzenstein) Zuroski, Shirley June (Little) Shriver, brothers Curtis Roland Wheat, Arvel Clifford ‘Tiny’ Wheat, Henry Perry Wheat and half-brother Ernest Levoy Wheat. Survivors include his sons Alan of Gainesville, VA, Jeffrey of Tacoma, WA and Jason of Port Orchard, WA, four grandchildren Samantha, Diego, Emily and Daniella, sister Darlene Neoma Patterson and brother Donnie Eugene Wheat, and numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors and Del’s long time dearest friend Jeanette Gregory of Dumfries VA. Funeral services and burial will be held December 10th, 2021 at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA with full military honors.
Delbert Ray Wheat passed peacefully in his sleep on the morning of November 21st, 2021 at the Brookdale Harbor Bay Memory Care Facility in Gig Harbor, WA. He was born on July 14th, 1937 in Bakersfield, CA to Hubert Eugene and Hettie Ina (Hartline)... View Obituary & Service Information
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