Cover photo for Vicki Lee Wheeler's Obituary
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Vicki Lee Wheeler

June 15, 1960 — June 4, 2023


Vicki Lee Wheeler

Wheeler, Vicki Lee (Nelson)

June 15, 1960 – June 4, 2023

Vicki Lee Wheeler, hero, passed away just shy of her 63rd birthday.

Vicki is predeceased by her parents, Violet and Harold, and her sister, Lily Rose.  She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Kurt, and sisters Jane Larson (Glenn) and Bonnie Nelson.

Born in Bloomington, MN, she was a proud graduate of Kennedy High School and Luther College in Decorah, IA. Music was always a part of her educational pursuits, though her actual major was English/Religion. Other jobs, including one in a veterinary office, preceded her decision to follow her passion and talent and become a professional French hornist, and she never looked back. For all of the lives she touched through that choice—from the musicians who played beside her to the audiences who heard her virtuosity—she deserves a resounding, emotional standing ovation.

Vicki and Kurt eventually settled in North Minneapolis, and it became commonplace for neighbors to enjoy the sounds of various groups rehearsing inside, and in the case of her Alphorn ensembles, on the front lawn. She was a dedicated member of too many bands, orchestras, chamber groups, and ensembles to name; she was fulfilled by them all. In addition to her musical gifts, Vicki was an ardent volleyball player and cyclist, a vibrant gardener, a nurturing dog mom, a zealous knitter, a tearful reader of inspiring texts, and a warm and wonderful conversationalist.  She and Kurt traveled often, visiting their cabin and boat respites near Duluth, family and friends around the country, and international destinations for music tours and vacation ventures. The list of the things that delighted her could go on and on.

It is often said that people succumb to their “courageous battle with cancer,” and while that is somewhat true with Vicki, she didn’t just fight it. She was a hero who lived with it, and by doing so, she won.

In March of 2016, Vicki was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer, which was predicted to take her from the physical world in one year. Her response was a proclamation: “Believe in miracles!” She made signs and staked them into every corner of her yard, and she forged ahead with the resolve that this statement was not just possible; it would happen. Bolstered by incredible medical teams at both Robbinsdale’s North Memorial Hospital and The Mayo Clinic, along with her steadfast partner, Kurt, she took on every treatment with ferocity, bravery, and matter-of-factness, and one year turned into seven.

The most miraculous aspect of Vicki was her devotion to those around her: her beloved partner, Kurt, her dear family, and her cherished friends. Even when cancer was overtaking her body, she wanted nothing more than to be with those people, talking, knitting, making music… This unrelenting belief in miracles is what kept her from ever considering that her disease might overcome her, and therefore, that belief kept her alive. Though we are grateful for the peace she now has after so much pain and so many health obstacles, we will miss her every day. But we believe in the miracle of Vicki as her spirit and her music live on.

A service to celebrate Vicki will be held on June 23, at 2:00 p.m. at Valley Community Presbyterian Church (3100 Lilac Dr N, Golden Valley, MN 55422 or livestreamed at The visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m., with a pre-concert at 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided immediately following the service at the church.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fridays in the Valley ( or The Lake Wobegon® Brass Band (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Vicki Lee Wheeler, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, June 23, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Valley Community Presbyterian Church (Golden Valley)

3100 Lilac Drive North, Golden Valley, MN 55422

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