Rollo “Skip” Simpson Wheeler Jr. February 6, 1947 – May 16, 2022
Last updated 10/25/2022 at Noon
Rollo (Skip) Simpson Wheeler Jr. passed away from a rapid progression of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Rollo was always known as Skip.
Born in Oakland, California, Skip attended kindergarten in Berkeley. He then attended grades 1-3 in Germany, when his family relocated there. The family then moved to Orinda, California, and he attended local schools for grades 4-8. He then attended and graduated from Piedmont High School in Piedmont, California.
As a teenager, Skip thoroughly enjoyed working on and maintaining sailboats, particularly his father’s 60-foot brigantine, Rendezvous. He later enjoyed living on sailboats and the challenge of sailing up and down the coast of California.
After two years at Oregon State University, Skip joined the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Okinawa, Korea, and Vietnam. When he came out of military service in 1969, he continued his education at U.C. Santa Cruz and Cabrillo Community College. His major was art.
Skip’s love and appreciation for art was interwoven throughout his life with his photography.
However, his love of the outdoors and his proximity to the ocean, both in Santa Cruz and his parent’s home in Hanalei, Kauai, caused him to capitalize on surfing as an exhilarating sport.
Also during this time, he became a ski instructor and stayed with that means of livelihood on and off for 20 years. He was known as a downhill racing coach and team manager.
Skip’s passion was the outdoors, the mountains, rivers, and oceans. His love for the mountains took him most summers and fall to the mountain states to flyfish. He had a great love for Montana. Skip worked as a professional fly-fishing guide on the Green River in Utah, until he started his own business, Mountain States Flyfishing. In these last several years, you could find him on the Metolius River.
Skip met his wife, Kristi, in Carmel Valley, California, and married in 1984. They were blessed to have over 38 years together. He was a devoted father and mentor to his two sons, Matthew and Michael, living in several states and sharing many adventures in Carmel Valley, California, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Hawaii, and Oregon. He had the heart to share, always ready to talk “story,” and make new friends. Skip had compassion for others, and a kind heart.
Summing up his life: Skip was an avid sailor, skier, surfer, professional fly-fisherman, and a photographer.
He is survived by his wife, Kristi; sons, Matthew and Michael; sister Carolyn; niece Danielle Wheeler; family and friends spread across several states.
E. Hoomau Maua Kealoha (May our love last forever).
Special thanks to Partners In Care Hospice in Bend, and Shannon Orf of Deschutes County Veterans Services.