Gerald Wayne “Jerry” Wheatley, 65, of Orangefield, passed away Monday, July 2, at his home after an illness.

Memorial services to remember Jerry’s life will be at 1 p.m. Friday, July 6, in the Chapel of Dorman Funeral Home in Orange.  A gathering of family and friends will be from noon to 1 p.m. Friday. Cremation was handled by Dorman Funeral Home.

A native of Greenville, S.C., he was born on Sept. 13, 1946 to his parents, James W. Wheatley Sr. and Mattie Mae (Bowling) Wheatley. Jerry was raised in Orange, where he played sports while attending West Orange High School. He was a football standout and he loved telling stories about the “Good Old Days” playing football. After graduating, he married Sharon Reich and had two children, Wade and Wendee. Years later, they divorced and he moved to Houston where he met and married Linda Langhoff. They also had two children, Clint and Amy. He moved to Elberta, Ala., where he bought and ran a successful Seawall business called Seawalls Plus. Many years later, he and Linda also divorced and he moved to Columbus and then back to Orange where he lived until his passing.

Jerry was an avid fisherman and spent many hours on the water. It was his passion and he was extremely good at it. Just mention the word fishing and you had a long conversation on your hands. He enjoyed teaching his sons and grandsons the art of locating and catching fish. He was also an avid golfer and he spent many hours on the golf course. You could always bet though that his actual golf handicap was about five or six strokes higher than the one he told you. His fish and golf tales were definitely tall ones. He enjoyed attending athletic functions with the grandkids and “getting away” every chance he got. He had an infectious laugh and he was always the life of the party.  He received a heart transplant in 2005 and during that time he became very close friends with many of the transplant patients at the hospital. Being one of the more mobile patients in the transplant wing, he often take other patients to their appointments, help with grocery shopping and other household duties. He was always eager to help his fellow man and this was never more evident than during his stay at the University of Alabama Birmingham while awaiting his heart transplant. Although he might not always have shown it, he had a big heart and he cared greatly for his family and friends. He will be greatly missed and there is comfort in knowing that his pain is over and that he is smiling down from Heaven, waiting for the chance to tell us another fish story.

Jerry is preceded in death by his father, James W. Wheatley Sr.

Those who will most cherish his memory are his daughters, Wendee Bradshaw and Amy Garcia and husband Jose; sons, Wade Wheatley and wife, Tammy and Clint Weldon and wife, Courtney; his mother, Mattie “Red” Wheatley; his brothers, Jim “Bo” Wheatley Jr. and wife, Mae and Dennis Wheatley and wife Christine; his grandchildren, Olivia Wheatley, Reid Wheatley, Cody Lee, Daley Bradshaw, Mason Bradshaw, Sydnee Pixley, Jeremiah Weldon and Addison Weldon.

For those who desire memorial contributions, please make a donation in memory of Jerry to the American Heart Association, 10900-B Stonelake Blvd. Suite 320, Austin, Texas 78759, (888) 433-7220, and/or The American Cancer Society, 755 South 11th Street,  Suite 212, Beaumont, Texas 77701-3723, (409) 835-2138