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Grace Ray Wheatley, 96, a native of Buffalo and former deputy clerk of the Town of Tonawanda, died Saturday (Jan. 29, 2000) at her home in Laurel Lake Retirement Village, Hudson, Ohio.

Born Grace Ray in Buffalo, she was a 1922 graduate of Lafayette High School. In 1924, she graduated from Chown School of Business.

Shortly thereafter, she worked as secretary to the vice president of Consolidated Aircraft, then based in Buffalo.

It was at Consolidated Aircraft that Mrs. Wheatley met her future husband, William, who was the chief test pilot for the company. They married in 1935.

The same year, Mrs. Wheatley joined her husband aboard an open two-seater plane for a flight from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego. The test plane was not equipped with a radio.

Also in 1935, they moved from Western New York to San Diego, where Consolidated had relocated its headquarters.

In 1941, her husband was killed while testing a plane. The next year, Mrs. Wheatley moved back to Western New York and settled in Kenmore.

In 1955, she became deputy town clerk of Tonawanda, a post she held until she retired in 1972. She left the Buffalo area in 1990 for Hudson.

Surviving are two daughters, Grace Sauer of Hudson and Charlotte of Woodstock, Ga.; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A private funeral is planned. Burial will be in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.


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