Mark Allyn Wheelis of Victoria, Texas, passed away at the age of 72 on February 20, 2023, in Edna, Texas, after a long illness.
Mark was born October 24, 1950, in Corpus Christi, Texas, to L.W. Wheelis and Ruth Lewis Pascoe Wheelis. The family relocated to Marfa, Texas, to run a ranching operation. Mark graduated from Marfa High School in 1969 and attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 1973. After graduation, he returned to help run the ranch and eventually care for his ailing parents.
In 1984, he opened the feed store, Rancher’s Store & More, in Marfa. He enjoyed providing Marfa and surrounding areas with necessities for agricultural life and the latest western fashions for over 10 years. After the store was sold, Mark continued to run the ranch for D.H. Braman Jr. and to take on additional responsibilities at other ranch properties. Mark became interested in the issues facing the agriculture industry and became a member of the Texas & Southwestern
Cattle Raisers Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He served on several committees and eventually was appointed to the board of directors for both these organizations.
He also became involved in lobbying legislative bodies on agricultural issues. After relocating to Victoria in 2004, Mark was appointed to the Texas Animal Health Commission by Governor Rick Perry and served as equine commissioner from 2007-2013 –– notably establishing regulations and emergency management for livestock, especially in the event of hurricanes. He was also involved with the Calf Scramble Donors Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. In later years he became a licensed realtor, lending his agriculture experience to buyers and sellers of ranch properties.
Many vacations were spent with a horse trailer in tow, from Pecos, Texas, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and many other locales, as Mark enjoyed steer roping and team roping. He was very proud to be a PRCA Gold Card member. As an avid outdoorsman, he also enjoyed hunting and fishing. He always had a camera on him, as he enjoyed photography –– particularly beautiful landscapes. These photos helped tell his stories, and boy did he love to tell a good story!
Mark is preceded in death by his parents; brother Richard “Dick” Wheelis; brother L.W. “Buddy” Wheelis; and sister-in-law, Jan Wheelis. He is survived by his son, Jake Wheelis (Kinsey); daughter, Laura Wheelis (Kent); four grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Alzheimer’s research, The HEARTest Yard Fund, an agricultural scholarship fund (such as Houston Stock Show) or the charity of your choice.