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Virginia Roe "Ginger" Wheeler

Virginia Roe ‘Ginger’ Wheeler

July 26, 1943—July 11, 2018

RACINE—There is no doubt that Ginger was born to entertain the world! Making her worldwide debut in Hollywood, CA on July 26, 1943 she was the youngest daughter of Mary (Dorn) and Jean Paul McDonald (both deceased) and sister to Richard and Charlotte (who have also predeceased her).

After graduating from John Marshall High School, she married her first husband, Darrel “Pete” Petersen, of Rochester, MN and they had two children: Daniel (recently deceased) and Kimberly. Eventually, Pete and Ginger divorced.

Ginger, Dan and Kim moved to Wisconsin, and she married LaVerne Ramsey (now deceased) and had another daughter, Stefanie. They too divorced.

After leaving a string of broken hearts behind her, Ginger met and married her soul-mate, Donovan “Mike” Wheeler, who she was with until his passing in 2004.

Ginger had a few different careers, but was most proud of her time as an LPN working in nursing homes in South Milwaukee and Racine.

Ginger and Mike were very active with the Racine Raiders semiprofessional football team, running statistics for many years, and, she frequently sang the National Anthem for their games. She was inducted (along with her husband) into the Raiders Hall of Fame in 2015. The Raiders were her second favorite football team after the Minnesota Vikings.

Ginger’s love of performing led her to become part of the annual “Cardiac Capers” fundraising event in Racine. She and a few close “Capers” friends eventually decided one show a year wasn’t enough! They began their own group, calling themselves the Penguin Players, where Ginger continued to sing, dance and flirt with unsuspecting male audience members during multiple shows a year.

Ginger never met a cat who did not immediately start following her around, and she leaves behind 3 well-loved cats: Tasha, Sassy and Bacon.

She loved cats, football, shopping, karaoke, Broadway musicals, anything with animal prints, sequins, fringe or feathers on it, the bling-iest jewelry, her cappuccino mix, unexpectedly breaking out into song in public places, hot sauce, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and inexplicably, canned corned beef hash.

She was a Trekkie, enjoyed the Hallmark Mystery Channel, reading weekly gossip magazines, getting her hair and nails done, and was obsessive about watching the show Blue Bloods.

Visitation with family will be held on July 18, 2018 at Draeger-Lagendorf Funeral Home at 10am, followed by a memorial service at 11am, with a private interment ceremony at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Union Grove the following morning at 10am.

If you wish to honor Ginger, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Racine County Humane Society or to Hospice Alliance.


4600 County Line Rd. Mount Pleasant, WI 53403


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the life of: Virginia R. "Ginger" Wheeler
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