Jack R. Wheatley is a real-estate developer, retired contractor, West Point graduate, and philanthropist. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Wheatley was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and grew up in the small farming community of Robin. Because he was a good student, his mother insisted that he graduate from high school in Pocatello. During his freshman year at University of Idaho Southern Branch (now Idaho State University), he earned a nomination to West Point. After his graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Army and served a tour of duty in Korea. After his wedding to Mary Lois Sharp Wheatley, he was stationed at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. After eighteen months there, they moved to the Army Corps of Engineers District Office in Kansas City, Missouri, where he served for one year before he resigned.
During his work with the Corps of Engineers, Wheatley worked on airfields, ammunition plants, shipping, and river management projects. He gained an appreciation for construction and began working with the Jacobsen construction company in Salt Lake City, Utah. He and his family later moved to northern California where Wheatley started both a construction company and a real estate development company. He built homes, schools, office buildings, and commercial buildings. He built several buildings on the campuses of Stanford University and San Jose State University. He joined with Jacobsen Construction to build the Oakland California Temple.
Throughout each of these business ventures, he gained skill in landscaping. He won a national landscaping award from U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1977. He helped with the gardens and water features at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. He envisioned and funded water features, open spaces, and over one thousand trees that adorn the BYU campus. In the 1980s he stopped his construction business and focused his efforts on real-estate development.
Wheatley served on the Palo Alto city council and served a term as mayor. He started a family foundation and encouraged each of his children to identify needs and suggest projects and would help them carry out their philanthropic plans. For instance, he worked with his son Robert on a building project and when the building was sold, they donated the funds to BYU to help expand the Harold B. Lee Library.
Wheatley has been president of the Stanford Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Stanford University Hospital and San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation. He received the Inspiration award from The Tech Museum of Innovation of San Jose and the Philanthropist of the Year award from the city of San Jose. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) presented them with the 2012 Distinguished Friend of Education Award.
BYU’s Wheatley Institution is named for Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley. Jack Wheatley is the chair of the Board of Overseers. He is a member of the BYU President’s Leadership Council. He and his wife were instrumental in creating the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University to house its large collection of art and in funding the acquisition of the museum’s signature piece by Carl Bloch, “Healing at the Pool of Bethesda.”
He served as president of the Colorado Denver Mission from 1978 to 1981. He and his wife served as missionaries in the Portugal Porto Mission from 1989 to 1991.
Wheatley and his wife are the parents of six children. She passed away in 2013.