Sandy Hook Elementary victim: Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Music surrounded Benjamin Wheeler as he grew up in a household where both his mother and father were performers.
They left behind stage careers in New York City when they moved to Newtown with Benjamin and his older brother Nate.
"We knew we wanted a piece of lawn, somewhere quiet, somewhere with good schools," Francine Wheeler told the Newtown Bee in a profile.
She is a music educator and singer-songwriter. Sometimes the musical mother would try out tunes on her own children, with some tunes that she made up for Ben as a baby eventually finding their way onto a CD, she told the newspaper.
In writing songs for children, melodies needn't be simplified, she said. "I try to make it my mission to always present good music to kids."
The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association issued the statement below on behalf the family of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler:
"Ben Wheeler was an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained. His rush to experience life was headlong, creative and immediate. He was a devoted fan of his older brother, Nate, and the two of them together filled the house with the noise of four children. He loved the local soccer program, often running across the field long after it was actually necessary, but always smiling and laughing as he moved the ball nearly always at full tilt. He was becoming a strong swimmer and loved his lessons. Eager to learn, he couldn't wait to get to school to see his teacher and his growing group of new first grade friends. Ben was also a member of Tiger Scout Den 6 which met at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse. Earlier in December, Ben performed at his piano recital and sitting still long enough to play one piece was an accomplishment he reveled in. He loved The Beatles, lighthouses, and the number 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens. In a conversation with Francine before school on Friday, he said, "I still want to be an architect, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that's what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does."
Benjamin's father, David, a former film and television actor, writes and performs still, according to a profile on the website of the Flagpole Radio Cafe theater, with which he's performed in Newtown.
The family are members of Trinity Episcopal Church, whose website noted that Nate, also a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was not harmed in Friday's shooting.
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Wheeler memorial facebook page.