- 68 years old
This website, free to all, like his exuberant public art, honors Joe Wheelwright.
A commemoration of Joe's life and work was held on November 12, 2016, at First Parish Church in Dorchester. Almost 200 attended. The text of the testimonials appears in the His Life section of this site and at joewheelwright.com.
Read the story about Joe's life in The Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/10/03/joseph-wheelwright-whose-whimsical-sculptures-celebrated-nature-and-humanity-dies/Pbn8va0BCM5eOE2nOY7NIO/story.html
Our precious Joe died as he had lived, peaceful, courageous, graceful, generous, beautiful, beloved. The world cannot be the same without him. I love you, my blessed son. May God bless you forever.
Your grieving mother
I remember so many stories - like how you made May and me collect rocks on the Vineyard for your art and how you introduced me to eggs benedict while singing. May you rest in peace. - Jaime (Bard) Goldstein [friends with May for 20 years+]
My prayers go to the Wheelwright family during this difficult time. Joe was such a gentle soul and I feel honored to have known him. Humphreys Street will always hold a special place in my heart.
I have lost my master-teacher, a role model, and a thoughtful friend. Our world will be less inspired and less inspiring without him--his talent, his dedication to his art, his social consciousness, his erudition, and his wit. Amen.
Thank you Joe for touching my life so deeply. From when I was a small child and all through the years since, you've been an inspiring teacher and one of my greatest influences. Your artwork and our countless memories keep you close (hot washes before campfire dinner.) And now like the dancing figures under the moon in the print of yours "Getting to Heaven", you've ascended. Love you Joe
Whenever you wanted to laugh, just call Joe. His wry, clever sense of humor embraced art to politics. From my Berkeley apartment (1971) -- he was en route to Asia -- to the last time I saw him in the hospital, Joe was fun, entertaining, erudite and wise. And his best decision ever? Marrying the wonderful Susie. Joe brought the world sunshine. On and off the tennis court. I will miss him.
I was so sorry to hear the news about Joe. He was larger than life, it's hard to believe that that he is gone. But his wonderful energy lives. I wasn't much of a wood carver but I loved Thursdays in his studio, anyway! His personality and the spirit he created in the studio kept me coming. My love goes out to his family and close friends.
I think of all the ways that Joe has touched my life & my family's from early days skiing and playing cards at Sugarloaf, to how he inspired & taught my father, to the beautiful sculptures I am lucky to have inherited that adorn my house. His kindness, humor, grace, vision and creativity touched me and so many. My heart aches for your whole family. He has left a hole in the universe. Love.
Back in my day that kind of action would be awarded a medal. You mimed pinning it to my shirt. Thank you for your acceptance at that family reunion when I felt misfit.
Joe came into my life at an important turning point. With his gentle caring guidance I felt supported while working in his class at Decordova and then in his studio in Boston. Such fond memories of lunch breaks; always stimulating conversations, to warm hand massages after a long day of carving before dinner at the camp in Vermont. His gentle, loving soul will be dearly missed.
I am so so sorry. I can't remember life without the Wheelwright family and Joe was a huge presence. Susie and Joe were one of the first true love stories of my life and a lodestar for me. love to all and we will miss him so much.
We are so grateful to have had Joe to teach, exhibit and share his humor with all of us at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center. He is an inspiration!
Thinking of you, Susie and of the wonderful man Joe must have been. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Anne Huyler Baker
Thank you Joe, and Suze, for your kindnesses to me in Vermont during a difficult time for me, after my brother died. I am forever grateful.
I worked with Joe for 10 years when i was at First Night Boston. Always a delight to work with and his sculpture inspired thousands of people each New Year's Eve. It's nice to know he lives on in all of his sculptures....
Joe and I were the bookend boys in pursuit of two of the MacGregor girls - Suzie and Eleanor. While political opposites in banter, and competitors in chess (Joe crushed me), our bond was in our MacGregor family devotion, survival and marriages. We joyed in making fun of each other, and I will forever miss my fellow GEEP. Per Joe's artistic genius, I'll always have his celestial marker .
Joe Wheelwright's work moved me deeply. I think about it all the time--those expressive rocks and trees. I love his wife, Susan, former colleague and one of those very important people in my life that I don't make time to see but always want to. I feel this loss. So sad. But emotive rocks last long. Thank you, Joe.
I first saw your ice sculptures during First Night on Government Center when I was in High School in 1985. Then I remember seeing you at Wellesley College when you were a visiting artist in 1990. I ran into you again in 1995 and you changed the course of my life by teaching me how to carve wood. For that I will be forever grateful.
Your forever fan, Donna
Dear Suzie, May and Tess--You (and Joe) have always been, are now, and will forever be, in my heart. It was a joy and a privilege to know you at SHS so many years ago, and I have always carried your glorious lights with me. Much love to you all. Xo
It's with deepest sadness that we learn of Joe's passing. I had the pleasure of meeting him on a Fayerweather field trip to his studio. He was so gracious with all of the children, including toddler siblings. Maria, Donnie, Lisa, and Tom join with me in holding you in our thoughts and prayers. Donna Tesiero (and the Cohn kids)
My sadness on learning of Joe's passing is immense. I did not know him well but have felt a strong kinship with him since art schools days. People kept telling me – “You would love Joe Wheelwright's work”. When I saw it, it became the gold standard for me. Joe's legacy lives, not only in his own tremendous body of work, but in the work of all who were inspired by him.
Dear Joe, I never really thanked you for your patience & generosity at a crucial point of my life. Like the big brother I never had. Love and respect to you Joe, a great, inspiring artist, a courageous visionary, & a warm, compassionate human being…and it was too much fun posing for your giant ice sculptures. Your pal, forever grateful, Bertrand.
Just returned from a week in Cuba to hear your terrible news. I weep for you. I have known you since you started dating at Yale - almost 50 years ago. Your love for each other seemed to grow with each passing year. I am sure Joe passed in peace with you and the girls by his side.
Dear Susan and family;
My deepest condolences. My mother loved Joe and learned so much from him. He was patient , talented, kind and generous of spirit. I see his moonstone sculpture everyday which brings back found memories of our camping together. He will be missed by all those he touched. Fondly, dave Geller and family
Dear Wheelwright family,
I was deeply saddened by the news that Joe had left us. For ten seasons, I was honored to represent him, and to show his wonderful work at the Nan Mulford Gallery. He was a lovely, lovely man and his work touched all hearts.
I don't think you have left us Joe. So much of you must live on in the people who have known you -- for me, I found so much beauty in your work but more than that was this giant gentle soul.
Joe and his family will often be with me thanks to his two statues on the walk to my office. My patients see them every time they walk by (as do I) and the humanity, intelligence, insight and whimsy they convey will forever be a tribute to Joe.
Joe was a friend at Yale in the chaotic times we had there. I would meet him at reunions and there was always a warm feeling and appreciation. I made it to a show at Allan Stone. As artists, we had a great sympathy for the struggle to create and a respect for having done so.
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