Theresa Dorothy Vangeli Wheaton

Life Story

Theresa Dorothy Vangeli Wheaton died Sunday, February 17, at the Androscoggin Hospice House in Auburn, Maine at the age of 83.

Born in Lewiston on August 17, 1935 to the late Emilio and Carmela (Spugnardi) Vangeli, both Italian immigrants, Theresa spent her childhood and most of her adult life in Lewiston, attending Lewiston public schools and graduating from Lewiston High School in 1953. 

She attended Westbrook Junior College (now University of New England), receiving her associates degree in 1955.  While at Westbrook Theresa was very active in student life, participating in Masque & Candle, Outing Club, Halloween skits, Interhouse Sing and Interhouse Sports, Winter Carnival, Science Club, Dance Committees, and Competition Plays.

Following her graduation from Westbrook, she continued her education at the University of Maine at Orono, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Education in 1957.

Theresa cherished the many close friendships formed throughout her childhood and college years.  She was especially happy during her time at Westbrook College and she remained a loyal Westbrook alumna, serving as an alumni trustee for many years.

Theresa taught in the Lewiston public schools. In 1958, she met and married John Wheaton.  He would be her husband for 54 years, until his death in 2012.

Theresa and John joined her parents and her brother and sister-in-law, Carlo and Judy Vangeli, in running Steckino’s Restaurant in Lewiston.  Recognized as the place to dine in central Maine, Steckino’s was known for its wide selection of fine Italian and American foods and exceptional personal service. It also created an extended family for her.

Theresa enjoyed skiing with her friends and family, with ski adventures around New England, Quebec and even Switzerland. She was an accomplished tennis and bridge player. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed hosting events in her home.  She was active in the Women’s Hospital Association and the College Club, promoting the advancement of young women.  Theresa supported her family in all of their many activities, and cherished being a mother and grandmother.

Her love of Harpswell began as a child when her parents purchased a summer cottage there.  Theresa took up sailing and enjoyed racing and many other adventures on the water.  She took great pleasure in beach life with family and friends and the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean. She admired countless orange sunsets on Middle Bay. 

Theresa was independent and outspoken. She was proud of her Italian heritage, and knew there was no greater inheritance than to be part of a good family.  Smart, witty and feisty herself, she had a special fondness for rascals. 

In addition to her parents, Theresa was preceded in death by her husband, John Wheaton, brother Carlo Vangeli and her sister Angela (Vangeli) Fox.

She is survived by her daughter, Pamela Jill Duggan and her husband, Neil, of Monmouth; her son, J. Timothy Wheaton and his wife Barbara and their children Matthew, Lindsay and Bennett of Yarmouth, her sister-in-law, Judy Vangeli, several nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

The Wheaton family expresses its heartfelt appreciation for the many skilled and compassionate caregivers who provided wonderful support over the years.


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