Cover photo for Avanelle Wheeler's Obituary
Avanelle Wheeler Profile Photo
1908 Avanelle 2014

Avanelle Wheeler

April 16, 1908 — November 11, 2014

Avanelle Wheeler, 106, a longtime Mandan resident, died in her sleep on November 11, 2014, at the Sanford Health Sunset Drive Continuing Care Center.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, November 14, 2014 at First Presbyterian Church, Mandan, with Rev. Deanna Reikow officiating. Burial will be at Mandan Union Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church.

Avanelle was born in Rochester, MN on April 16, 1908, the daughter of Ella Britzius. She grew up in Rochester where she attended grade school and high school. She then attended the University of Minnesota where she received her degree in Library Science.

Avanelle married Dr. Harry A. Wheeler, her high school sweetheart, in 1933 when he opened a practice in Mandan, with Dr. A.E. Hetzler. Dr. Wheeler served as a physician for many years and was known throughout the area for delivering over 7,000 babies. He also served as county coroner and for many of those years Avanelle typed up the coroner reports. They had one daughter, Susan, born in 1936, who was married to Don Zimmerman. Susan died in April of 1999, and Don has continued to care for Avanelle and her affairs over the years.

Avanelle was active in community affairs, and became active in supporting and improving the local library. In 1938 a Library Benefit Ball was held to raise funds. It was at this time that she became the tennis table champion in Mandan. When the library was moved from the basement of the Memorial Building to the former Post Office Building on First Street in 1978, a Reading Room was dedicated in her name.

After the war, Avanelle was instrumental in organizing a dance club—The Revelers. She was an active member of First Presbyterian for years. She was also active for 69 years in Fortnightly, a book club, and for 70 years as a member of PEO. Avanelle could be depended upon for any gathering or picnic to have everything that possibly could be needed—from forks, napkins, and powdered sugar to coat the glass rims for the current drink of the hour. She was an excellent cook and always a gracious hostess. She modestly tried to stay in the background but was the one people went to for care, information, and reassurance.

Avanelle is survived by her son-in-law, Don (Audrey) Zimmerman, Waite Park, MN; her granddaughter, Julie Zimmerman; and great grandson, Andrew Jakob Olson, both of Duluth, MN.

Avanelle was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Harry A. Wheeler in 2007; her daughter, Susan; her mother; and brother, Charles Britzius.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that a contribution be made to the Mandan Public Library or the First Presbyterian Church in Mandan.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Avanelle Wheeler, please visit our flower store.


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