Patrick Alton Wheatley had his final curtain call on January 12, 2022, he was 69. Patrick was born to the late Alton and Laura Wheatley on October 7, 1952, in St. Louis MO. He was the last sibling to be born and rounded the family out at lucky number 11. He was raised in South St. Louis, so staying true to form of any St. Louisan: “What high school did you attend?” Patrick was a St. Mary’s Dragon. He was a great athlete, and it was at St. Mary’s where he found his love for the game of football as well as track. He tried his hand at basketball, but as the old tale he liked to share goes “…after showing my skills on the basketball court, coach said, ‘track starts in a couple weeks, come see me then’ and thus ended my basketball career.” Some of Patrick’s best stories were about playing Varsity football and running kickoffs back because he was smaller than everyone and it was easier to not get tackled, or his 440-yard relay team setting records. It was also at St. Mary’s where Patrick found his love of the stage and theater. Being the youngest of 11 siblings, it is only natural he would fall in love performing in front of a big audience and getting all the attention. After high school, like most men his age, Patrick anxiously waited for his draft number to be called for Vietnam. Deciding it was better to take control rather than leave things to fate, Patrick enlisted in the Army so he could have his choice of branch and potentially MOS. He loved numbers and became a 73D – Accounting Specialist, working for INSCOM (U.S Army Intelligence & Security Command). His four years of active-duty military service offered him some great experiences, first and foremost having a duty station in Heidelberg, Germany. While growing up in St. Louis, the home of Anheuser-Busch Beer, Patrick was no stranger to what he would refer to as the finer beverages in life (beer). His preferred choice went through many rounds starting off with Budweiser, moving to the pull-tab Busch cans, slowly switching to Bud-Light and ending up as a Bud-Select only drinker. But it was in Germany where he really got to expand his horizons, drinking some of the finest beer Germany had to offer, teaching neighbors about the joys of barbequing pork steaks and how you can heighten the experience if doing it while sipping on a cold beer. Patrick never shied away from his roots and shared his love and passion for BBQ and beer wherever he went. After an honorable discharge, Patrick packed up his family and reset his roots back in St. Louis. It was here that he raised his four children with his first wife, Debbie. His passion and love for his children was bountiful. Serving as coach of many softball and soccer teams, or as the bus driver to and from the dance studio, or as a baseball and football adviser (he stayed away from the basketball advice-see aforementioned story) but he encouraged them to find something they love and stick to it—all the way to the end. Some of his best advice was always to “finish what you started, no matter what.” Patrick’s personality never let him sit still. It is probably why he loved being a letter carrier for 27 years – every day was a new adventure with people to talk to and friends to make. To the end he could recite addresses of businesses, recall houses and the names of the family and children he watched grow up, every dog that he ever encountered, good or bad, and by gosh he never missed a flag that was up on a box while driving through a neighborhood. He found a great family at the post-office—meeting his lifelong friend Don Westrich at his first job at the post office downtown and they stayed friends for over 40 years. It was here that Patrick found his second life in sports—playing softball four nights a week on multiple teams, traveling to tournaments and winning trophies. He took up golf and fell in love with what he used to say was the “worst and best four-letter word sport around.” As part of the local 50-50 union at the post office, Patrick also served with his good friend Bill Casey, coordinating the BBQ efforts of their yearly parties, cooking for hundreds of people, playing games, and entertaining them all with his singing and quirky dancing around to the music. Patrick’s love of music was huge. He loved playing the “do I know the song game” with his kids in the car. He would switch from station to station, AM or FM to see if he could jump in and sing. His taste was eclectic, country music, anything from 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, as well as anything from Broadway. Patrick never lost his passion for theater. He was a member of several theater families, most notably Family Musical Theater with Mike & Diane Hesser and KTK Productions with Joe and Lauren McKenna. It was here that Patrick introduced all his children to the stage, kicking off summer adventures with his kids and creating memories to last a lifetime. It was within his theater family where he met his second wife, Janet. For as outgoing and verbose as he was, he was still as nervous as could be asking her on date. However, once he did, as they say, the rest is history. They married in May of 2004 and have been together performing on stage, supporting one another as the other took on new roles in new plays, traveling around the US, and enjoying retirement together.
Patrick had the good fortune to understand that family did not always mean blood. It is most likely why he considered and was considered by so many as family – whether at work, on the stage, or on the golf course. He loved hard, put his everything into whatever passion he was pursuing in the moment, and made the best life possible. He is survived by his wife Janet Wheatley, and his four children Penny Prindiville (Tom), Patty Richmond (Fred), Deanna Barnes (Eric), and Josh Wheatley (Holly). Patrick is also survived by his 10 grandchildren, Benjamin, Elisabeth, Makali, Tom, Sophia, Nick, Emma, Marie, Kaedon and Will, and by his two great grandchildren Avery and Aubrey.
Services: Visitation at Kutis South County Chapel 5255 Lemay Ferry Rd. Thursday, January 27, 5-9 p.m. Funeral Service at St. John Lutheran Church (Arnold) on Friday, January 28, at 10 a.m. Inurnment Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for any donations to be sent to either DAV (Disabled American Veterans) https://bit.ly/3qHvONR or to KTK Productions by check sent to 738 Peal Dr, St. Louis, MO 63125.