David A. Wheatland, Assistant professor of Chemistry from 1967 to 1973, died on February 13, 2020, in Cumberland Foreside, Maine.
(The following was published by The Boston Globe on February 23, 2020)
David Alan Wheatland known to some as DA, Wheaties, Ager Frumentarius, Dad, or Gramps, passed away unexpectedly on February 13, 2020. The son of David Pingree Wheatland and Elizabeth Hinckley Wheatland, he was born August 27, 1940 and spent his early years in Cambridge and Topsfield, MA.
The only son in a family with four sisters, he spent his childhood sailing in Marblehead, ice-skating at the Cambridge Skating Club, canoeing and fishing on the Ipswich River, and playing and celebrating with his large extended family. After attending Shady Hill School, Dave went on to Milton Academy where he was a standout athlete and student. He excelled at football, soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball, and track. Inspired by Elvis Presley, he learned to play the guitar. He spent his summers in Sorrento, Maine, a community he dearly loved for his entire life. As a teenager, he ran the Sorrento pool for the VIA, coached Little League for local youngsters, and raced sailboats on Frenchman’s Bay. He also became an avid outdoorsman exploring the Maine woods and joined the pioneers of New England alpine skiing.
With a keen interest in the sciences, Dave earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Brown University, an institution to which he was “ever true.” It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Susan Burke, at a Wheaton College mixer. Dave and Sue married on June 19, 1965 in Wellesley Hills, MA and would have celebrated their 55th anniversary this coming year. After earning his PhD from the University of Maryland, Dave was a Professor of Chemistry at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME for 6 years. Dave and Sue joyously celebrated the birth of their son, Thomas in 1968, and later their daughter, Rebecca in 1971. He left academia becoming a Research Chemist for Scott Paper at SD Warren, and the family relocated to Cumberland Foreside, ME where he became an active member of the Portland Yacht Club, Portland Country Club, and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
In addition, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Stage Company, and the Portland Museum of Art. Despite a series of unfortunate health setbacks that confined him to a wheelchair, Dave discovered a new life of hobbies, activities, voracious reading (especially historical non-fiction) and joy. He adored the State of Maine and all of its natural wonders, which he was able to savor through birdwatching, gardening, and simply enjoying his time on the shores of both Casco and Frenchman’s Bay.
Following his career at SD Warren, he dedicated his time to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, mapping the wetlands of New England, as well as volunteering at the greenhouse at the Morrison Center. To their great joy, Dave and Sue rediscovered international European travel through the Brown Alumni Travelers and spent several winters on Sanibel Island, FL. Throughout his life, he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. An astounding example of strength, grace, generosity, and kindness, he was constantly affable and never missed an opportunity for a kind word to each person he encountered each day. He will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Burke Wheatland of Cumberland Foreside, ME; his son, daughter-in-law, and their children, Thomas Perkins Wheatland, Rose Ann Miller, Miles Pingree Wheatland, and Leo Benjamin Wheatland of Belmont, MA; his daughter Rebecca Wheatland of Cambridge, MA.; his sisters Nancy Wheatland Biglow of Medina, WA, and Martha Wheatland Lunt of Mt. Desert, ME. He was predeceased by Susan W. Stauffer of Lafayette, CA and Barbara Wheatland of Topsfield, MA and Sargentville, ME; as well as a large extended family.