Funeral services for Dr. E. Jay Wheeler, 80, of Lubbock, TX, will be held Tues., Mar. 17, 2020, in Portales, NM, at 2:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time, in the Wheeler Mortuary Chapel. Rev. Buddy Moore will be officiating, assisted by Scott P. Reeves and Dr. Thomas McGovern. Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery with Kevin Wheeler, Amanda Hale, Cooper DuPree, Uriah Blu, Reagan Marquis, and Scott Reeves serving as pallbearers.
Ernest Jay Wheeler was born Sept. 14, 1939, in Portales, NM, to the home of Jamie (Greenwalt) and Ernest N. Wheeler, Jr., and died early on the morning of Mar. 12, 2020, at his home in Lubbock. Jay, as he was known to virtually everyone, was a 1957 graduate of Portales High School. He was a talented vocalist and was active in choir, both in high school and at Eastern New Mexico University where he received his undergraduate degree in 1961. He went on to earn both his MD and a PhD in Microscopic Anatomy from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. On June 16, 1963, in Portales, he was married to Carol Leavitt. He was active with the Boy Scouts for many years and represented New Mexico at the Boys Nation in Washington D.C., where he met President John F. Kennedy. He also enjoyed woodworking and electronics.
After earning his degrees, Jay served on the faculty of Baylor Medical School for four years, before taking a position as Professor of Anatomy at the University of Georgia Medical College. In 1975, he became the Executive Associate Dean of the Medical School at Northeast Ohio Medical College. His final position was as Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Development at Texas Tech University Medical School, a position he held from 1983 until his retirement Emeritus in 1999. He was also a pioneer in the development of telemedicine, which is critical in providing rural healthcare.
Jay served on the National Advisory Committee for Rural Health for the Department of Health and Human Services. He was a founding board member of the American Telemedicine Association. In addition, he served on the accreditation committee for several medical schools. Dr. Wheeler was frequently a presenter at various medical conferences and published numerous research papers. His community involvement included serving as a major grant writer to procure funding for the Community Health Center of Lubbock.
The Texas Tech Medical School community will honor Dr. Wheeler for his outstanding contributions to the early development and accreditation of the school. This memorial will take place at a later date.
Jay is survived by Carol, his wife of nearly 57 years; a son, Kevin Wheeler and his partner, Amanda Hale. He was preceded in death by his parents, as well as by a daughter, Lisa Lynn and a son, Nathan Jay. The family would like to acknowledge the help of the dedicated healthcare workers who provided outstanding care for Jay throughout many years. In lieu of sending flowers, the family suggests donating to the Community Health Center of Lubbock.