Roger Wheelis

August 23, 1935-April 11, 2023

Roger often said, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” It is a quote from The Wind in the Willows, a childhood favorite, and messing around in boats punctuated much of Roger’s life. Sailing was a passion he shared with Margo, his wife of 50 years. Together, they explored the San Juans, the Canadian Gulf Islands, and the coast of Alaska. Twice they sailed from Puget Sound to the South Pacific, connecting with other sailors from around the world. Quiet harbors and the simplicity of life aboard a boat brought them both a sense of wonder and calm. Even after losing Margo, he continued cruising both single-handedly and with new friends. To the end, he loved his Cruising Club of America Rendezvous and sharing stories of life at sea.

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Roger grew up in West Los Angeles. He attended the University of Southern California where he met Margo Jackson. They married in 1959 and their daughter, Pam, was born two years later.

Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, Roger pursued a career in medicine, attending the University of Southern California Medical School. For 40 years, he practiced Pathology in the Pacific Northwest. His attention to detail and love of research made the choice a perfect fit and he loved his work. Deeply curious, Roger never stopped learning. He loved questions, answers, and everything in between. Swapping stories, asking questions, and exchanging jokes connected him to family and friends. He was meticulous and believed the joy of things came not from owning them, but from maintaining them. He had a deep appreciation for the world around him. Every goldfinch was a marvel, every meal was the best ever, and every sunset was spectacular – especially if it was accompanied by a Mai Tai while at anchor on his boat. Roger was inspired by his family, often wondering how he’d gotten so lucky. We were equally inspired by him, thinking of ourselves as the lucky ones. He was beyond proud that one granddaughter followed in his footsteps, pursuing a career in medicine, and the other followed Margo, pursuing a career in teaching. He was funny, thoughtful, sensitive, and profoundly loyal. He will be deeply missed by those who loved him. He is survived by his daughter Pam (Wheelis) Shor, his son-in-law Marc Shor, and his two grandchildren Ryann Shor and Miller Shor.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.