On October 11th, 2020, Dr. Barry Reid Wheeler passed away peacefully in the Colchester East Hants Health Center’s palliative care unit in Truro, Nova Scotia. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his wife, Pat; his five children, Jennie, Guy, David, Tony and Suzanne and 35 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Barry was born in 1931 in England and was raised in the town of Corsham, Wiltshire. His family had a strong tradition in medicine with his father, grandfather and great grandfather all being doctors. Following that tradition, Barry attended boarding school at Epsom College in Surrey, which specialized in preparing students for a future in medicine. Upon completion of his studies at Epsom, Barry was accepted at St. Bartholomew's Hospital School of Medicine ("Barts") in London, graduating in 1954 at the age of 23.
It was during his time at Barts that Barry was introduced to his wife, Pat who was in the nursing program there, getting engaged only ten days after they met and marrying in 1954 after he graduated.
Barry continued with his medical studies for the next two years. He did a housemanship (internship) in obstetrics and gynecology at Bart's, where he was awarded the Bentley prize for best case notes and another housemanship in orthopedics at Metropolitan Hospital in London.
In 1956, Barry began his military national service, which was mandatory at the time, serving as a doctor in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He then moved back to Corsham, where he joined his father's medical practice, "The Porch Surgery" from 1960-1965.
Encouraged by a cousin who had moved to Canada to practice medicine, Barry moved his family to Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 where he continued to practice medicine for the next 46 years, finally retiring in 2011. While his primary focus was his own general/family practice, he provided services to the Millbrook clinic and the area nursing homes. He was highly active at the Colchester Regional Hospital over the years in the emergency room, as a part-time anesthesiologist, delivering thousands of babies and as Chief of Staff when it was an unpaid volunteer position. It is hard to meet someone from Truro who doesn't have a story about how Dr. Wheeler delivered them or someone they knew or wrapped their broken/sprained limb or helped their elderly relative.
Medicine wasn't his only passion, Barry was an avid sportsman who enjoyed sailing, cross country skiing, golf, orienteering, running, and track and field. He ran marathons all over the world and competed in several triathlons and masters track and field events. He spent many happy summers participating in weekend sailing races with the Shortts Lake Yacht Club.
Barry had a strong belief in the benefits of exercise and active living. He taught sailing, orienteering, and cross-country skiing. He was active in the development of the Dr. Jim Vibert Memorial Participark and he helped found the "Colchester Heartthrobs", an exercise and rehabilitation group for cardiac patients. He also advocated for more physical education in schools and helped launch the Truro Fun Run to encourage kids to be more active.
Barry was curious about everything and a life-long learner. In addition to his interest in medicine and sports, as an adult he studied various subjects such as photography, painting, poetry, writing, piano and French. He was a voracious reader. He wasn't a natural at all of these things, but that didn't matter to him; he pursued his interests anyway. He was proud to have some of his poetry and short stories published in "Stitches", a Canadian journal for medical humour, and Canada's Medical Post.
Most importantly, Barry was a devoted husband of 65 years and father of five children. We all have memories of special moments with our Dad. He was a wonderful reader, bringing books to life and lighting up our imaginations. He was thrilled to introduce us to sports activities. He captivated the room as he spoke lovingly and eloquently at our weddings. He was endlessly devoted to our mother's care and wellbeing while she spent years declining in health due to Alzheimer's. Nobody could have asked for a more loving husband.
Many thanks to the Parkland and Cedarstone in Truro where both our parents have received excellent assistance and care from a dedicated and compassionate team, many of whom remembered our Dad from his days as a doctor serving his patients there.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Alzheimer Society (https://alzheimer.ca/en/take-action/donate), the Colchester Hospital Auxiliary (https://www.colchesterhospitalauxiliary.ca/donations/) or Kidsport Nova Scotia (https://kidsportcanada.ca/nova-scotia/colchester-east-hants/).
Due to restrictions in place, a celebration of Barry’s life will be planned at a later date. Arrangements entrusted to Colchester Community Funeral Home, 512 Willow St., Truro where online condolences are available at www.ColchesterCommunity.com