January 12, 2010
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Myrna Wheelere

Myrna Wheeler

Myrna Long Wheeler, respected local educator, dedicated volunteer and active church leader, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 9 at her home in San Dimas after fighting acute myeloid leukemia for several months. She was 70.

Having graduated from La Verne College (now the University of La Verne) in 1960, Wheeler served 25 years as a member of the institution’s Board of Trustees.


“Myrna’s life and deeds epitomized the values of her alma mater.  She was an inspiration to all of us who had the privilege of working with her,” University President Steve Morgan said.  “Her life of service was a model and she leaves a legacy we cherish and will build on for generations to come.”


Wheeler taught 37 years in the Covina Valley Unified School District, retiring in 2001. In June of that year she was hired as Chaplain of Brethren Hillcrest Homes and served more than eight years, during which time she was Minister to Older Adults at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.


A lifelong proponent of community involvement, Wheeler spent five years on the La Verne City Parks & Human Service Commission. She also chaired the Harps for the Spirit Program of Pilgrim Place and was a longtime board member with the YWCA of Greater Pomona Valley and the American Association of University Women-Pomona Branch.

Wheeler’s honors include receiving the Centennial Citation of Distinction in 1991 from the University of La Verne as well as being named “Alumna of the Year” in 1993 and being recognized during the Diamond Jubilee Excellence in Education in 2002. She was selected a “Woman of Achievement” by the YWCA of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties in 1995. Pilgrim Place of Claremont awarded her “Volunteer of the Year” in 2008 and Hillcrest nominated her as “Philanthropist of the Year” for National Philanthropy Day in November 2009.


Over the years Wheeler brought leadership skills to the district and national Church of the Brethren. She twice served as moderator of the Pacific Southwest District twice; was on the Standing Committee of the National COB, and many additional committees. And she was a worship preacher at the Church of the Brethren’s Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2006.


Wheeler is survived by a son, Alan Wheeler of San Diego; a daughter, Julia Wheeler of La Verne; three grandsons, Ben and Brandon Sankey of La Verne, and Evan Wheeler of Coronado Island; and a sister, Phyllis Bordona of Oakdale.


A public memorial service celebrating Myrna Wheeler’s life is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the La Verne Church of the Brethren located at 2425 E Street in La Verne, 91750. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Myrna Wheeler Chaplaincy Fund at Hillcrest Homes, 2705 Mountain View Drive, La Verne, CA, 91750.

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