Billy Charles Wheat, 69, departed this life on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital.

He was born Oct. 29, 1949, in Loudon, Tennessee, a son of the late James D. and Ruby Tuck Wheat. He received his diploma from Lenoir City High School in Lenoir City, Tennessee, in 1968 and two associate degrees from Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter in natural resources management and computer technology. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served a distinguished 22 1/2-year career. In the course of his lifetime, he was an avid reader, fisherman, baseball and fast pitch softball player, bowler and sports fan, a Tennessee Volunteer for life.

He was a dedicated family man who is survived by his wife of 46 years, Frances O'Neal Wheat of Sumter; two daughters, Dr. Laura S. Wheat of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Emily "Katie" Wheat Beck (Carl) of McDonough, Georgia; a granddaughter, Melanie Anne Beck of McDonough; a brother, Jerry L. Wheat of Louisville, Tennessee; and a host of other relatives.

He was preceded in death by two sisters, Dortha S. Sheffield and Jo Ann Stamey; and two brothers, James Ray Wheat and Glenn A. Wheat.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date in Tennessee.

Memorials may be sent to Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 211 Alice Drive, Sumter, SC 29150 or a charity of one's choice.

Elmore-Cannon-Stephens Funeral Home and Crematorium of Sumter is in charge of the arrangements.