Marilyn's Story

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Marilyn Thoms Wheeler, 76, of Terre Haute, passed away at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was born July 21, 1941, to William F. Thoms and Marie K. (O'Connell) Thoms in Terre Haute.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, William Thoms; and husband of 40 years, Thomas J. Wheeler.
Marilyn was a 1959 graduate of Schulte High School and a graduate of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she was proudly presented with her Woods ring by her daughter, Molly Wheeler.
Marilyn was an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church for over 20 years, serving masses and funerals with her sister, Patty Thoms. She loved being a part of that community and rarely missed a Saturday night service.
Marilyn was a member of the Swope Alliance and Red Hat Society and served as a CASA for many years. In 1990, she proudly served as the Dream Girl for the ISU Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity; her son, Michael's fraternity.
Marilyn never turned down a person in need. On one occasion, she encountered someone asking for money to avoid getting thrown out of the motel she'd been living in. Marilyn paid for the woman to stay another night there. Another time, she gave a couple stranded at a rest stop enough money to continue their journey. There are many other examples. She always said "If they're scamming me, that's on their conscience not mine."
She loved the ocean and regretted she would not be able to make one last trip there. Her favorite places were the beaches in Florida and North Carolina which she visited with three of her sisters on their annual "Sister's Trips." She loved her children and doted on her four year-old grandson. Having Ryan in her life kept her fighting. They always told each other "I love you to the moon and back." When she was told the cancer was terminal, she said "I hate leaving all of you, but I hate leaving Ryan most of all."
Marilyn is survived by daughters, Maggie Wheeler (Ray Buechler) and Molly Wheeler of Terre Haute; son, Michael Wheeler (Alicia Winegardner-Wheeler) of Speedway; grandchilden, Riley and Reis Walker and Ryan Thomas Wheeler; sisters, Carol Lindley of Moorehead, Minn., Kathy Payne of Carlisbad, Calif., and Patty Thoms and Janet Cleveland of Terre Haute; brother, James Thoms of Huntington Beach, Calif.; nieces and nephews, Joseph Thoms, Christopher Thoms, Ann Gill, Tricia Hoff, Amy Cleveland and Jennifer Walker; and several great-nieces and nephews. She also will be missed by many cousins and friends, especially Cathy Allen, Nancy Manuel, and Joe Hoalt.
Visitation will be 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 4, 2018, in DeBaun Springhill Chapel and 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, March 5, 2018, at St Joseph Catholic Church followed by funeral mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Terre Haute Humane Society or CASA of Vigo County.
Published on March 1, 2018
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