Fr. Thomas F.X. Wheeler, SJ, was born on Oct. 8, 1930, in Kansas City, Mo., to Francis Wheeler and Mary McNamara. He had a brother named John David Wheeler.
Fr. Wheeler first met the Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. After graduating in 1948, he went on to attend Rockhurst College. On Aug. 14, 1949, after one year at the college, he entered the novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa.
He would go on to profess First Vows on Aug. 15, 1951, at the novitiate. After his time at the novitiate, he attended Bellarmine College in Plattsburgh, N.Y. from 1953 to 1955. In 1955, he spent a year at the Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y.
Fr. Wheeler’s first assignment was at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, Pa. From 1956 to 1959 he was the assistant prefect of discipline and a history teacher. In 1960 he finished his college studies at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Pa. and received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Fr. Wheeler was ordained on June 17, 1962, at Woodstock College. From 1963 to 1964 he completed his tertianship.
Following tertianship, he took on a decades-long position at Gonzaga High School in Washington D.C. From 1964-1991 he taught history at the prep school. During this time, Fr. Wheeler professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1977. In 1979, he took on an additional role at Gonzaga as the Assistant Director of the learning development program.
In 1991, he moved away from education to take on pastoral work and served as Parochial Vicar at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1995 he left the parish to work as an Infirmary Chaplain at McAuley Convent in Merion Station, Pa. In 2013, he began local parish ministry work at the Loyola Center Jesuit Community in Merion Station.
In 2016, Fr. Wheeler, nearing the end of his active service in the Society, moved to Manresa Hall in Merion Station. It was here for the next five and a half years, he would continue to serve the Jesuits by praying for the Church and Society. On March 17, 2022, he passed away after a lifetime of service.