Friends Remember Tim Wheeler

In the old days before Gingrich, Reagan and even Goldwater, there was National Review, HUMAN EVENTS and a small but growing band of conservative stalwarts around the country who formed the nucleus of what was to become the modern conservative

Timothy J. Wheeler, a charter member of that stalwart band, died last week at the age of 70 and was buried in the soil of his native Wisconsin where, against all odds, he played a key role in the creation of the movement that was to produce the vibrant conservatism of today.

In the late 50s, he and a few others founded Insight & Outlook, the nation’s first student conservative journal. He later wrote a humor column for National Review, founded and edited a lively non-student conservative journal called Rally that he published from his Wauwatosa home from 1964-70 and went on to work for the Conservative Book Club and pen speeches for conservative candidates.

Tim was bright (he once studied and mastered Polish in less than six weeks), imaginative and bore life’s failures as well as its successes with unfailing good humor. He ventured out of the Midwest on occasion, but his heart remained in Indiana and, most of all, in Wisconsin where he fought the good fight and made a difference.

— David Keene, Chairman of
the American Conservative Union

If you see a teary-eyed but smiling conservative — especially one who is a veteran of the Goldwater era — there’s an explanation for the mixed emotions being conveyed. This person probably knew Tim Wheeler, who died of heart failure August 4 at the age of 70.
We miss him dearly, but we cannot think of him without a chuckle. Most people knew him only anonymously — for years he contributed many of the best zingers in those unsigned humorous paragraphs at the beginning of each issue of National Review. We who were lucky enough to know him personally were treated to the same ironic, sardonic, literate wit, usually spoken softly with a barely visible smirk on his face accompanying the mirthful twinkle in his eyes.

An example of his one-liners is the one that became known as “Wheeler’s First Law”: “The way to end corruption in high places is to get rid of the high places.”

A few of his many contributions to the cause: Tim was founder and editor of Rally, one of the earliest and best magazines produced and written by young conservatives. In addition to a stint on the editorial staff of National Review, he was a senior editor at Arlington House and worked for the Conservative Book Club in the late 1960s. Tim was also a trustee of the Philadelphia Society, and a member of the equally prestigious Flat Earth Party and the Beer and Pizza Marching Society of Indianapolis.

 — David Franke, in 1957, was a
 member of the first HUMAN EVENTS
summer journalism class in 1957


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