Alabama Rep. David Wheeler, R-Vestavia Hills, died Wednesday, the state House of Representatives announced.
Wheeler, who was retired from Alabama Power, was 72.
“The people of District 47 and all of Alabama have lost a devoted servant and I’ve lost a good friend,” House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said. “It was rare that David came to the microphone to speak on legislation, but when he did his words carried weight. I’ll miss him and so will the members of the House.”
Gov. Kay Ivey directed flags to be flown at half-staff immediately through sunset Thursday.
“Rep. Wheeler was a good man, devoted to his values, his community and our entire state,” Ivey said. “He was taken from us too soon, and I know he will be missed by all, especially by the people he served in Jefferson County. His wife, Diane, and all of his loved ones are in my prayers.”
Wheeler was in the last year of his first term in the House and was unopposed in the Republican primary in May as he sought to return to the Legislature. He served on the Commerce and Small Business, Jefferson County Legislation and Local Legislation committees in the House, according to the Legislature’s website.
Wheeler had been a member of the University of Montevallo trustees since 2008.
According to his bio on the Montevallo site, he began his career with Alabama Power in 1972, the same year he graduated from Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Wheeler continued his education at Samford University and earned a Master in Business Administration in 1976 and became a certified management accountant.
From 1972-88, he held various positions in the Accounting, Finance, Planning and Budget departments at Alabama Power. From 1988-93, he was the manager of Federal Affairs for the company and based in Washington, D.C.
He retired from Alabama Power in 2001 as the director of Accounting, Finance and Regulatory Services, serving as the company’s primary liaison to the state Public Service Commission.
“As well as being a great personal friend and mentor, David left a lasting legacy on our state, the communities he served and our company,” said Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president. “He was a shining example of what it means to be of service to others. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Most recently, Wheeler served three years as president of Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Inc., according to his bio. He was also active in the Republican Party. He was past-chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party and was treasurer of the Alabama Republican Party and a member of the Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee and the Alabama Republican Steering Committee and Executive Committee at the time of his death.
“Every member of the House Republican Caucus is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our colleague, Rep. David Wheeler, and his loss is deeply felt by all who knew him,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, said in a statement on behalf of the caucus. “A kind and jovial man with a broad smile and firm handshake for those he encountered, Rep. Wheeler was dedicated to his district and worked hard to represent the constituents who elected him. He stood firm in his conservative beliefs and understood that the moral character and values unique to Alabamians are what make our state such a special place to live, work, worship and raise a family.
“Alabama has lost a statesman, and those of us who were fortunate to work alongside him have lost a good and trusted friend,” Ledbetter said. “The members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus join me in lifting up the Wheeler family in this time of need and asking God to give them strength and consolation in the days ahead. Godspeed, good friend. You will be missed.”
Wheeler was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Homewood and was married to the former Diane Reeves, a Troy native.