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    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77


    Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    CHRIS SMITH
    THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | January 16, 2018,
    10:11PM

    Artist Bill Wheeler, who 50 years ago welcomed free spirits onto a west Sonoma County commune that affronted country neighbors but also helped along the region’s tentative embrace of liberal politics and non-mainstream lifestyles, died early Tuesday morning at the remote Occidental-area ranch that remained his home. He was 77 and had braved Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.

    From 1968 until the hippie habitations on the ranch were razed by the county in 1973, Wheeler presided over the exercise in spontaneous, simple, musical, stoned, off-the-grid, clothing-optional existence. The commune grew from the demise of Lou Gottlieb’s nearby Morningstar Ranch, also shut down by the county.

    Wheeler Ranch became nationally known as an intentional alternative to uptight middle-class values and the daily grind. At its peak, about 400 people grew vegetables, toileted in holes and coexisted on the isolated, wooded, 320 acres off Coleman Valley Road.

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    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    I was born in 1961 in Manhattan but raised in Marin County. I am, at least in part, a cultural product of Bill Wheeler and the counter cultural movement of the 1960s.
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    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    Does anyone know yet if, when, and where a memorial service might be held?
    Quote Barry wrote: View Post

    Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

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    Last edited by Barry; 01-23-2018 at 11:57 AM.
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  6. TopTop #4
    robert777's Avatar
    robert777
    Supporting Member

    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    I'm not sure, but I heard that will occur at the Wheeler Ranch annual Mayday event - May 1.

    Bill is a legend. Also, a hero, for opening up his land to everyone in the '60s.

    Robert


    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    Does anyone know yet if, when, and where a memorial service might be held?
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    beshiva's Avatar
    beshiva
     

    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day
    We'd live the life we choose
    We'd fight and never lose
    For we were young and sure to have our way
    La la la la la la
    La la la la la la
    La la la la La la la la la la

    RIP Bill....

    Quote Edward Mendoza wrote: View Post
    I was born in 1961 in Manhattan but raised in Marin County. I am, at least in part, a cultural product of Bill Wheeler and the counter cultural movement of the 1960s.
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  10. TopTop #6
    erinsheff's Avatar
    erinsheff
     

    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    Here's the last interview with Bill Wheeler, made in September at the Hippie Reunion:

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  11. TopTop #7
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Bill Wheeler, founder of famed Sonoma County hippie commune, dies at 77

    The Sonoma West Times and News article on Bill Wheeler's passing is here:



    Bill Wheeler, artist and founder of Wheeler Ranch commune, dies at 77
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