Zelous Wheeler, a former teacher in Kansas City with a “natural” desire to help children, dies at the age of 90

When Wheeler retired as a teacher about 25 years ago, she left as one of two black teachers to break through the color barrier of Center Elementary School.

Public schools in and around Kansas City eliminate racial discrimination It was slower than schools in other areas and violated federal law for years. By 1978, shortly after Wheeler returned to her hometown after living on the East Coast with her family, she had returned to where the struggle for racial equality in public education was still at the forefront.

“We have integrated this department,” she told the star in an interview in 1994. “It was hard at first.”

Sue Wheeler, a longtime educator in Kansas City, died on April 3 during hospice care, remembering that he was devoted to helping others until old age. She was 90 years old.

Born in Sue Anderson in Kansas City, Missouri, Wheeler was in the middle of three children. She grew up in the Washington Wheatley district of Washington, and lived in a home where her parents, siblings, and grandparents lived.

Her daughter stated that she had focused on education from an early age, the subject of which was a lifelong pursuit. She graduated from a first-generation university, earning a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City in 1952, and later a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-Kanzas City.

In 1950, Wheeler joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Her daughter, the only girl in her direct family, said the organization had given Wheeler the opportunity to experience a sister relationship. Wheeler has spent more than 60 years volunteering in a variety of positions, including scholarship initiatives.

According to her daughter Robin Wheeler Sanders, getting a good education is a hallmark of Wheeler’s upbringing, and her husband provided it to her children and grandchildren.

“Everyone has good work ethic and they are very serious about excellence,” Wheeler Sanders said. “They are serious about carrying their heritage.”



In the summer of 1954, Wheeler met Robert Wheeler II and spent more than 50 years with him. He was absent from studying at Columbia University in New York and approached her while she was teaching a summer school class in the park. The two began courtship to endure a distance of 1,200 miles and got married. The following year I wrote a letter before and after.

The Wheeler family spent some time in Oakland, California and the Washington, DC region when Robert Wheeler worked for the US Department of Education, traveling around the country as a tour pair of educators. Robert Wheeler oversees the Kansas City School District, where he held five years.

The family remembered Wheeler as the shadow of her husband’s yang. When Robert Wheeler becomes noisy and extroverted, she will draw attention through quieter style leadership. Wheeler Sanders said she was a true “partner” of the marriage until Robert Wheeler died of cancer in 2008.

Among her friends, Wheeler was known for her world-class cooking skills. She enjoyed hosting and often created new and tasty recipes that she had collected in large quantities over the years. Her home became like an informal restaurant for her grandchildren and large families, and Wheeler cooked what she liked when she visited her home.

Helping others was another characteristic family that I remember well. During her retirement, Wheeler added her neighbor’s friends to the cart and became a free taxi service to doctor appointments, grocery stores, or general affairs.

The daughter said she was kind to those who saw her walking down the street and that her family had to intervene before long, and she had to stop the stranger from getting in the car because she was worried about Wheeler’s safety. I said it wouldn’t be.



Before becoming a teacher in the Center School District, Wheeler worked for several years at Kansas City Public School. When her husband became director in 1977, he chose not to hire her to avoid the emergence of conflicts of interest.

After resigning in 1982, Wheeler continued to work at Center Elementary. She also worked briefly in the private school sector after retiring.

Wheeler worked mainly with young children from kindergarten to first grade while teaching. She paid special attention to serving many endangered children without a stable family life, said longtime family friend Mary Ives.

Ives remembered Wheeler always saying he wanted to teach children who “couldn’t tie their shoes.”

“She was reaching out not only to educate them through reading and everything, but also to give them love, warmth, and comfort,” she worked as a teacher and principal at a public school in Kansas City. Ives said.

“That was her make-up. There was something innate in her own personal environment that could help difficult children and warm her heart,” Ives said. ..

Wheeler’s educational career spanned about 40 years. In her famous style, she invited her last Center Elementary School to dine at home in 1994.

“It was a lot of fun to take the kids, and they were excited to come to her house to have breakfast,” Wheeler Sanders recalled. “Breakfast with Miss Wheeler.”

Wheeler has survived by her children, Robin Wheeler Sanders, Stephanie Moore, and Robert R. “Skip” Wheeler III. Three grandchildren. And three great-grandchildren.

Other memories

Mark & ​​# x00201c; Uncle June & # x00201d; Sanders Jr., memorable for his barbecue cooking skills, died on April 10th. He was 97 years old.  & # Xa0;

Mark “Uncle Jun” Sanders Jr., who is memorable for his barbecue cooking skills, died on April 10. He was 97 years old.

Mark sanders

Mark “Uncle June” Sanders Jr., a general culinary expert and family remembered as an award-winning barbecue chef, died on April 10 at the St. Luke’s Hospice House. He was 97 years old.

Born in Nowata, Oklahoma in 1924, he later attended a school in Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from Sumner High School. After graduating from elementary school, the family remembered that Sanders joined the US military during World War II and was sent abroad to the Philippines.

His family remembered that one of his most proud achievements was winning the Amateur Competition category of the American Royal World Series of barbecue sauce contests.

Sanders left the military in 1946 and joined the Santa Fe Railroad, a 38-year career. Shortly after starting work on the railroad, he met Yvonne Bush. Yvonne Bush is a 71-year-old wife and mother of three children.

Sanders is survived by his two sons, Michael Sanders and Geoffrey Sanders. 6 grandchildren. His great-grandson.

Elma Baker

Remembered as three devoted mothers who enjoyed singing in the church choir, Elma Baker died on March 28 at the Kansas City Hospice House. She was 80 years old.

During her professional life, Baker held several positions at the National Beef Food Processing Company in Kansas City. In his spare time, the family remembered that Baker loved bingoing, singing, and returning to his hometown of Arkansas to visit his loved ones.

Baker was part of the congregation of the Oak Ridge Baptist Church. She was a member of the church choir and the ministry group there.

Baker has survived by her children, Kenneth Baker Sr., Meylon Davis, and Carolyn Brown. Her brothers, Clifton Chaffin, Ernest Ray Chaffin, Bercy May Gibson, Mary Ruth Washington, Jewel Freeman, Madera Brown, Mender Mitchell. 9 grandchildren. And 17 great-grandchildren.