The son of Wheelock and Katharine Whitney, Wheelock spent his childhood in St. Cloud, MN. Upon graduating from Phillips Academy in 1944 he enlisted in the Navy. Upon completion of his service, he attended Yale University, Class of 1950.
Wheelock was the CEO of J.M. Dain & Company from 1963 until 1972 when he retired. Under his leadership Dain expanded from a relatively small business to one of the largest regional firms in the country.
Upon retirement from Dain, Wheelock immersed himself in organizations and causes that promoted health and well-being. With his first wife Irene, whose struggle with alcoholism had shown him firsthand the devastating effects of addiction, he co-founded the Johnson Institute, which was a pioneer and national model in the treatment of chemical dependency.
From 1983 to 1986 he served as chairman of the National Council on Alcoholism. Among the other organizations of which he was an active board member were the Minnesota Council on AIDS, InnerCity Tennis, and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
From 1973 to 1984 he taught a popular course on management at the University of Minnesota.
A lifelong Republican, he was consistently moderate, even progressive on social issues and conservative on fiscal ones. Wheelock was mayor of Wayzata (1963-68). He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and for governor in 1982.
Last month he and his wife Kathleen Blatz, who was the Chief Justice of the MN Supreme Court when they married in 2005, went to Augusta to toast his 50 years of membership
He played a pivotal role in bringing major league baseball to Minnesota in 1960, when he spearheaded the efforts to persuade Calvin Griffith, the owner of the Washington Senators, to move the team to the Twin Cities. He served on the board of the Twins for 24 years. Five years later Wheelock helped bring major league hockey to Minnesota as one of the eight original owners of the Minnesota North Stars, an NHL expansion team. His last involvement with professional sports in Minnesota was as part owner of the Minnesota Vikings, which he bought into in 1987.
Wheelock is survived by his wife Kathleen Blatz; children Wheelock III (Sandro Cagnin); Pennell (Edward Cremo); Joseph (Desiree); Ben (Mary); stepsons Hunter, Carter and Max Berkelman; grandchildren Rebecca, Sky (Monique), Galen and Stephen Ballentine; Alexander, Laura, Elizabeth, Victoria, Lock, David and Cope Whitney; stepgrandsons Nick and Alex Heller; great-granddaughters Ceceilia and Matilda Ballentine and Lennon Whitney LaMond; and by his sister Sally Pillsbury. He was preceded in death by wife Irene Hixon Whitney and his brother J. Kimball Whitney.