Audrey was born in 1951 in Pittsburgh, PA to Clayton Wilson, a civil engineer at U.S. Steel, and Mary Louise Tancraitor, a homemaker. She lived the quintessential childhood of a baby boomer in Gibsonia, PA, spending time with her loving family, which included three siblings and a dog. After graduating from Richland High School, she met and married the love of her life, Michael Wheeler, at the age of nineteen. A devoted mother, Audrey spent her younger years raising two wonderful sons, Michael and Brian, in the Pittsburgh area. In later years, she also lived in San Ramon, CA, West End, NC, and Brentwood.
When her children were older, Audrey pursued a short stint as a travel agent, allowing her to delve more deeply into one of her greatest passions: traveling. She was a cultural explorer who enjoyed traveling around the world to visit scenic places, meet interesting people and collect fun local artifacts. Not only did Audrey enjoy learning about the traditions in various countries, but she also loved to observe and learn about indigenous wildlife such as humpback whales and chinstrap penguins. One of her favorite pastimes was photography, and she has endowed her family with many meaningful memories of happy times together from the shores of Lahaina, Hawaii to the fjords of Homer, Alaska to the peaks of Zermatt, Switzerland and the edge of the Palmer Peninsula in Antarctica.
A consummate grandmother, Audrey’s largest collection of photographs is comprised of photos of her precocious and much-loved grandchildren. Those who love and miss her include her loving husband Michael, her sons and their wives, Michael (Heidi) and Brian (Jean), her mother Mary Lou, and her siblings and their spouses: Harold (Vicki), Evelyn (Bill), Craig (Patty), her grandchildren Matthew, Lynn, Brenden and Amélie, as well as an aunt, nephews, a niece and cousins.
Regardless of where she was living at the time, Audrey was involved in charitable causes including BackPack Pals, a nonprofit group in North Carolina that provides backpacks full of nutritional foods for children with food insecurity and SmileTrain, a national nonprofit organization providing corrective surgery for children with congenital cleft lips and palates.
Audrey will be remembered as a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, aunt, cousin, niece, neighbor and friend. In keeping with Audrey’s loving and generous spirit, it was her decision to share the gift of life with many others through organ and tissue donation.
A celebration of Audrey’s life will be held in Brentwood and Columbiana, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a contribution to one of Audrey’s favorite charities: Smile Train at www.smiletrain.org.