The Hon. Dudley Seth Wheatley Jr. of Greenwood died on Sept. 26, 2017, after a brief illness. A Requiem Eucharist will be celebrated at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, with the Rev. Peter Gray presiding and the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley Dyson, niece of the deceased, assisting. Visitation will begin at 12:30 p.m. at Nativity in the parlor.
A lifelong resident of Greenwood, Seth Wheatley was born on Dec. 27, 1921. He attended Greenwood public schools; The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee; Harvard College; and Harvard University School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in England during World War II. Wheatley was admitted to the bar in 1949 and practiced law in Greenwood for over 46 years. He served as a Mississippi legislator and as a judge on the Greenwood Municipal and Leflore County courts. He was a Mississippi Bar commissioner, president of the Leflore County Bar Association, Moot Court referee and mentor to young lawyers and new judges.
Baptized by his grandfather, the Rev. Philip G. Davidson of St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville, Wheatley was a lifetime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Greenwood. In earlier years he taught Sunday school, served on the vestry and was a delegate to the annual diocesan council.
Throughout his life, Wheatley was an avid outdoorsman, accomplished field dog trainer and regular golfer. After his retirement from the bench, he devoted extensive time and energy to new subjects of knowledge. Anything his children studied in college or graduate school became his subjects, too — from computer science to Russian and Hebrew and from economic policy to theology. He was also a devoted puzzler who frequently had a Sudoku or crossword at hand.
Wheatley is survived by his children, M. Gwin Wheatley of Los Angeles; Seth Wheatley III (Sandi Wheatley) of Greenwood; the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley-Jones (Robert “Butch” Jones) of Southaven; and Parker Wheatley (Jennifer Jimenez-Wheatley) of St. Joseph, Minnesota. He also leaves his four grandchildren, Lawson, William, Annabelle and Colton; and his step-great-grandchildren, Drew and Ella Haddon. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth Davidson Wheatley and D.S. Wheatley Sr.; sisters Elizabeth Wheatley Malone and Alice Wheatley Rapp; and daughter Gwin’s partner Lesley C. Chiller.
The family wishes to thank Mattie Hood and the West Adams neighbors for their longtime support for Judge Wheatley and his family, especially in the last year.
Wheatley’s last service to his community was the donation of his body to the University of Mississippi Medical Center Body Donation Program. His commitment to this program and to science was adamant. Those wishing to join in this service to the greater community should contact UMMC Body Donation Program, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS, 39216; firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts may be made to: The Wheatley Fund for Poetry and Contemporary Fiction at the Greenwood-Leflore Public Library, 405 West Washington St., Greenwood, MS 38930.