Clyde A. Wheeler, whose long and varied career included stints as a White House staff assistant, a lobbyist for Sun Oil and a rancher, was remembered Wednesday as a “wonderful patriarch” of the Oklahoma Republican Party.
Wheeler died Monday in his hometown of Laverne. He was 92.
Wheeler, a Republican back when relatively few in Oklahoma belonged to the GOP, worked on the 1950 congressional campaign of Page Belcher, and then served on Belcher's staff in Washington and Oklahoma.
White House staffer
Wheeler then went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He moved to the White House as a staff assistant for President Dwight D. Eisenhower before making his own run for Congress in 1960. In that election, Wheeler appeared to have defeated Democrat Victor Wickersham in a close race. But a recount demanded by Wickersham in the predominately Democratic district reversed the outcome.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said, “Clyde Wheeler was a respected Republican leader, an ardent advocate for rural Oklahoma and strong proponent for energy independence. He may be the best congressman Oklahoma never had.
“I mourn his loss and extend my sympathy to his dear family and thousands of friends across the country.”