FARMINGTON – Gertie E. Wheeler, 94, died Tuesday, June 9, at the Sandy River Center for Health Care, where she had been a resident. “Sisu” is a Finnish word meaning “determined effort in the face of formidable odds.” This is a quality a Finn strives for. Gertie had “sisu.”

She was born Aug. 7, 1914, in the section of Jay known as Riley, the daughter of Emil and Elin A. (Panaanen) Willi. She graduated from Jay High School in 1932 and attended Bliss College in 1933. She was employed for several years as a nanny and later as a cook in family homes in Lewiston.

She was married to Harold W. Wheeler in 1950. They lived in Wilton for 16 years and in 1966 moved to Farmington. In later years, she helped to care for her parents. She enjoyed reading, sewing, cooking, and CHOCOLATE. She was called “Tati” by family members which means Aunt in Finnish, a heritage she was very proud of.

She was close to her family and loved by all. Her niece Sandra Lamkin and nephew Peter Ross were an important part of her life. After her marriage to Harold he became “Uncle Hal” to Sandra and Peter and they were a source of great joy to Tati and Hal.

She is survived by her sister, Lily Willi Ross of Farmington; niece, Sandra and her husband, Walter Lamkin, of Florida; nephew, Peter and his wife, Priscilla “Poochie” Ross, of Farmington; great-nephews, Troy Lamkin and his wife, Hilary, and their children, Lily and Charlie of Standish; Todd Lamkin and children, Daniel, Katrina and Stephanie of Holliston, Mass.; Chief Petty Officer Robb Ross and his wife, Stephanie, and their children, Gabrielle and Connor of Genoa City, Wis.; Ted and his wife, Wendy Ross and Preston and Gracie of Chesterville; stepson, Owen Wheeler and his wife, Day, and their children of St. Augustine, Fla.; stepdaughter, Rhoda Sabin of Farmington, and her sons, Steve and Harvey Sabin, and their children.

She was predeceased by her parents, Emil and Annie Willi; her husband, Harold Wheeler; stepson, Paul Wheeler and his wife, Betty; and brother-in-law, Atherton “Pete” Ross.

The family would like to express their sincere thanks to the staff at Sandy River Center for Health Care and to Dr. Goss for their excellent care of Gertie during her stay there and to thank the number of friends who remembered her with the many cards, beautiful flowers and their visits.

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