Wheeler Mortuary was established in 1924 by E. N. Wheeler to serve Portales and Roosevelt County with quality funeral service. In 1926, his son, E. N. Wheeler, Jr. joined his father in the operation of the firm. In 1935, they built a new facility at the current location which at that time was the corner of Union and Ohio streets. Street names were changed in 1951 to the current designation of East Third Street and South Abilene Ave. In 1951, the senior Mr. Wheeler retired and turned the operation of the business entirely over to his son.
In 1948, L. W. McGuffin, joined the firm. Mr. McGuffin was married to Edith (Wheeler) McGuffin, daughter of E. N. Wheeler, Sr., and sister of E. N. Wheeler, Jr. He and his brother-in-law divided many of the responsiblilities, with Mr. Wheeler and his wife, Jamie (Greenwalt) Wheeler overseeing the business administration, and Mr. McGuffin primarily taking responsibility for the embalming and technical portion of the business. In addition to funeral service, the firm also furnished ambulance service to the county until 1972, when the city assumed that responsibility.
In July of 1966, Charles "Preston" Dunn joined the firm, serving as a bookkeeper and general assistant. Mr. Dunn eventually attained an Assistant Funeral Director's Licsense under Mr. McGuffin's general license. He served primarily as an arranger and assistant funeral director. Being well known throughout the county from his years associated with his father-in-law in the local John Deere dealership, he was a wonderful asset to the business.
In January of 1968, Scott Reeves joined the firm while still in college. Eventually, he served an apprenticeship while completing his studies at Eastern New Mexico University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Business administration and Finance and Psychology. In 1972, Scott went to Dallas to earn an Associate's degree in Mortuary Science, and returned to Portales in the fall of 1973 to become a permanent licensed member of the firm. In January 1975, Scott was married to Deborah Jacobs, and in July of that year, Debbie also joined the staff as an assistant.
In January of 1976, after fulfilling 50 years in funeral service, E. N. Wheeler, Jr., and his wife retired, and turned the operation and ownership of the mortuary over to Mr. Dunn and Mr. Reeves, with Preston serving as general manager, and Scott overseeing the licensed aspects of the operation. By 1981, the two partners had acquired full ownership, and remained partners until April of 1993, when Preston retired. During the years of co-ownership, they did extensive remodeling and updating to the building.
On July 4th, 1995, a lightening surge caused a fire which totally destroyed the facility, and all of the vehicles and equipment. Through the help and cooperation of the Masonic Lodge, Scott and Debbie were able to establish temporary quarters in the dining room of the Masonic Lodge across the street from the mortuary, and continue to serve the community until a new facility could be planned and constructed. During that period, arrangements and visitation were housed in the Masonic Lodge, and all services were conducted either at a church or at the graveside. A funeral home in a neighboring community allowed the usage of their facilities for preparation operations. In the summer of 1997, the current facility was opened to serve Roosevelt County.
For more than 85 years, Wheeler Mortuary has worked to provide the very best of service to the citizens of Portales and Roosevelt County. We make a sincere effort to care for each family with individualized and caring service, and pledge to continue to meet the needs of each family that calls upon us for our services.