Randy K. Wheat, age 49, of Oroville passed away on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at Central Washington Hospital, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Randy was born Oct. 15, 1958 in Canandaigua, NY to Jack and Jeanne Wheat. His parents moved to Alaska when he was three years old to homestead at Mole Harbor, near Juneau. They lived in Fairbanks briefly where Randy attended first grade, then they bought property on Entrance Island, one hundred air miles from the nearest community of Petersburg, where he spent the remainder of his childhood.
He and his younger sister were home schooled through grade 12 and spent a great deal of time learning the lessons of nature. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Kauai, HI. Randy had always dreamed of being a Police Officer, and got his start working as a security guard in Hawaii. After the death of his father, they moved to Austin, Texas, where he graduated from Police Academy. In 1980, he was a Reserve Patrolman for Leander, Texas Police Department and worked his way up to Assistant Chief of Police. From 1984-1987 he worked for the Cedar Park, Texas Police Department as a Patrolman and became a Field Training Officer, as well as working in narcotics and crisis intervention. He moved back home to Petersburg, Alaska in 1987 and worked for one year as a Harbor Police Officer for the Petersburg Port Authority, then became a Patrolman for the Petersburg Police Department He soon was promoted to Patrol Sergeant and Narcotics Unit Commander.
During this time, he met and fell in love with a Nurse at Petersburg Community Hospital. He and Katie were married Sept. 21, 1993 and had a wonderful 15 years together. From 1992 to 1995 he owned and operated a 42 ft. commercial fishing vessel. Although he loved fishing, he was not happy with the weeks away from his wife, so in 1995, they moved to Oroville and bought an orchard so they could be together more. In 2003, he became the Chief of Police for Oroville. He was appointed Emergency Service Coordinator in 2006 and belonged to the Washington State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. He was the inspiration and the force behind Oroville’s SWAT team. Through his integrity, professionalism and good common sense, he earned a great deal of respect in the community. He lived well and will be greatly missed.
Randy is survived by his wife, Kathryn Wheat at home in Oroville; one sister, Kathy Hanlin of Jacksonville, Arkansas
Randy was preceded in death by his parents and half brother, Mark Lee.
Funeral Services were held on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 2 p.m. at the Oroville High School Gymnasium. Interment followed at the Ellisforde Brethren Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Oroville Police Department for the SWAT team.
Bergh Funeral Service of Oroville/Tonasket in care of arrangements.