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Greg Wheatley, R.I.P

Condolences to Muscle Beach promoter Joe Wheatley and his family on the sudden death of his younger brother, Greg, on Saturday, October 10.

According to Joe, his brother, 51, had undergone a hernia operation 10 days earlier but it went “haywire.” Joes says Greg’s bowel was perforated; he then caught pneumonia and went into septic shock. “Another operation was performed on October 10, about 1 pm…Greg got through that, went into the ICU, then suddenly went code blue and died about 5 pm. It’s one thing to lose a brother, a whole other thing for a mother to lose a child.”

The funeral was held this past Saturday, and Joe shared a real special story with me when he got back. “About a year ago a couple returned home from Iraq (both were in the military), and moved into my brother’s building,” Joe said. “The husband and Greg really grew close, and they talked a lot about his experience over there; the young man was having a hard time readjusting.

“About four months ago Greg came home and found him hanging in the garage, cut him down and got him medical help…he survived. The young man’s mother flew in from Tennessee to personally thank my brother for saving her son’s life. I got a chance to meet him today at the funeral.

“They say God has a plan and we all have a purpose for being here. I believe that was Greg’s purpose, and it was time for him to come home….his work done.”

Ironically, Joe and I have discussion the topic of death quite frequently over the past two years; I told him what I continually tell my students: tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Or, to borrow a line from Robert DeNiro, used in the 1996 movie “Heat”, “today is luck, tomorrow is a blessing.” Joe said he wished I could have met Greg; likewise.

Greg lived in Riverside, CA; Joe also has a sister who resides in Victorville.

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