Joseph Storer Wheelwright

  • 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

Read the story about Joe's life in The Boston Globe:  

Memorial Tributes
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Candle lit  by Mary Wheelwright on September 30th, 2016

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

Candle lit  by Jaime Goldstein on September 30th, 2016

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+]

Candle lit  by Anthony Long on October 2nd, 2016

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.  

Candle lit  by Paul Angiolillo on October 2nd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Fitzhugh Karol on October 2nd, 2016

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

Candle lit  by Joan Mower on October 2nd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Amy Perlmutter on October 2nd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Polly Donald on October 2nd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Christopher Spicer on October 2nd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Anne Dean on October 3rd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Penny Moorhead Grayson on October 3rd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Carol Driscoll on October 3rd, 2016

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!

Candle lit  by Anne Baker on October 3rd, 2016

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

Candle lit  by David Sewall on October 3rd, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by nancy dellarocco on October 3rd, 2016

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....

Candle lit  by Hoyt Connell on October 3rd, 2016

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 .

Candle lit  by Connie Biewald on October 4th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Donna Dodson on October 4th, 2016

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

Candle lit  by Abby Shuman on October 5th, 2016

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

Candle lit  by Donna Tesiero on October 5th, 2016

Dear Susan,
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)

Candle lit  by Patricia Keck on October 6th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by bertrand laurence on October 6th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Robin Hogen on October 7th, 2016

Dear Suze
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.

Candle lit  by David Geller on October 9th, 2016

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

Candle lit  by Nan Mulford on October 13th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by John Gusdon on October 16th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by Bob Schlauch on October 20th, 2016

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.

Candle lit  by tom walker on January 7th, 2017

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.

Candle lit  by bethany knowles on December 20th, 2017

I am sad to hear Joe left us last year. I was showing my sons Peter’s sculptures, and then Joe’s, and just found out. I remember the days in the studio in the late 70s, John Moran working with Joe, and me working with Peter. I won’t forget his taking us under his wing. A decent man and a charming artist. I cherish the screenprint Holding On he gave me. Love to Susie and your family.

Candle lit  by Hilary Crosby on June 14th, 2019

Feeling very sad to learn that Joe, someone I always thought was there, being a wonderful artist and loving human being has been gone for almost 3 years. Kip and I still treasure the little stick people that Jo Crosby passed on to us. In looking through things as part of a move, I found a paper Molly wrote 1981. Thought Joe would get a kick out of it. Missing Joe, such a delightful man.

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