Mrs. Hattie Lenora “Nancy” Wheeler was born on December 22, 1929 in Richmond, Virginia and departed this life on June 7, 2018. She passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones. She was preceded in death by her grandson, Lavar Pierce.
She was educated in the Richmond Public School System and although she only completed the 10th grade, she was a prolific writer and an ardent reader. The table by her recliner was always stacked with no less than five books that she would be reading simultaneously. That love of reading she passed on to her children and grandchildren.
On September 9, 1948, Hattie married the love of her life, Tommie Lee Wheeler, a young sailor stationed in Norfolk, Virginia that she had met three years earlier. The young couple moved to Newport News to be close to his homeport in Norfolk. For the next 15 years while Tommie remained in the Navy, Hattie took care of the home and family.
Even when Tommie was transferred the family remained based in Newport News. Hattie was a mother who raised her children to love and respect their father. Whenever Tommie was out to sea during any special occasion, upon his return these occasions would be celebrated. A June birthday would be celebrated in December and Christmas celebrated in July.
Hattie was a frugal woman; she put the E in economical. Her children ate a vegetarian diet while Daddy was away because, as she explained it, meat was unnecessary as long as you had cheese or beans for protein. Because she loved to dress her daughters in pretty dresses, she invented her own outlet shopping.
She would go to Gloria Manufacturing Company and buy their dresses directly from the factory. As she was also a woman of vision, she did what was necessary to provide for her family. Daddy shared the story of how Hattie, decided that the family needed to move out of the apartment they were living in and into a home. So upon the occasion of his return from sea, she notified him that she had purchased some land, acquired house plans and was having a house built. This house has been their home from 1956 to present.
Hattie was unchurched until she was 16 years old when she was blessed to meet her spiritual mother, Ida Ruth Ware. Hattie always delighted in talking about her joy of learning about the Lord from this wonderful woman of God. She truly loved the Lord! Once she met Jesus she never turned back; she remained faithful for the remainder of her life. She was also faithful in sharing the Good News of salvation with anyone who would listen. When she moved to Newport News she joined Mt. Calvary F.B.H. Church. It was nothing for her to walk in the door and immediately start “dancing in the Lord”, as she called it.
Hattie had a servant’s heart and happily served others. Her children joked that her job was the neighborhood cab driver because if anyone needed a ride to the grocery store, the doctor’s office or wherever, folks came to Sister Wheeler. Even though she loved driving folks around she wasn’t one of those persons that you had to wrestle the car keys away from them when they were too old to drive. In her early 80’s dementia began setting in and she got lost one day and when she found her way home, she put away her car keys and never picked them up again. This service to her community did not go unnoticed.
On June 5, 2010, the George Washington Carver Alumni Association awarded a “non-Trojan” the Humanitarian Award in acknowledgement of her love and caring for her fellowman. When she was awarded this honor, the presenter said that they had all agreed that they felt justified in giving her the award because even though she had never attended Carver, she was the mother of four Trojans and countless other Trojans called her Mom.
Her greatest joy was in serving the Lord. Even though her husband was not saved when they were first married he did not stop her from raising their children up in the church. For many years, she quoted Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, as her favorite Bible verse. In later years, she used to quote 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” as her favorite verse.
She prayed constantly for her family’s salvation and when she finally led her husband to Christ in 1965, she gained her favorite prayer and Bible study partner. So with two Christians who love to read and both with an insatiable curiosity, there was never any shortage of religious (and other) books in their little house. Fortunately, over the years, the children and grandchildren learned to “borrow” books from them or otherwise we would have gone to the house one day and not been able to find them for all of the books.
She leaves to cherish wonderful memories, her loving and devoted husband of 69 years, Tommie Lee, Sr., two sons - - Tommie Lee, Jr., (Nancy) of Richmond, VA and Gregory of Newport News, VA, five daughters - - Veronica Long (Cleon) of Newport News, VA, Debra Wheeler of Philadelphia, PA, Teresa Pierce of Williamsburg, VA, Cynthia Young (Michael) of Newport News, VA, and Denise Saddler (Michael) of Cibolo, Texas, Vickie Harris, her adopted daughter, Vickie Harris, twenty two grandchildren, thirty one greatgrandchildren, nieces, nephews, church friends and family, and many others who called her Mother Wheeler.
Services Mrs. Wheeler will be held 11:00a.m. Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at Hilton Baptist Church, 101 Main Street Newport News, Virginia. Viewing for Mrs. Wheeler will be held Monday, June 11, 2018 from noon until 6:00p.m. at C. C. Carter Funeral Home Inc.
Private Family Interment will be held at a later date at Albert G. Horton Memorial Veteran Cemetery.
It is the desire of the Wheeler family that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
The family of the late Mrs. Hattie L. Wheleler has entrusted her final care to the staff of C. C. Carter Funeral Home, Inc.