Velma Edwards Wheeler (Courtesy Photo)
Velma Wheeler, 87, of Wilmington, Del. passed away peacefully on Dec. 17, 2020. Born in Enfield, N.C. and raised in the Belvidere community, Velma was a sweet, industrious woman who excelled in school, in her profession, and in her long, dutiful life.
Velma is the daughter of the late John and Jane (Wiggins) Edwards. She graduated with high academic standing from Howard High School, Class of 1950. Velma was proficient in shorthand, typing and clerical work and studied under an accomplished administrative professional, Joe Morris, who recommended her for jobs during the time of segregation. Velma persevered and achieved in spite of Jim Crow conditions and rose to be an outstanding executive secretary for Stuart Pharmaceuticals, later ICI
Pharmaceuticals, and now Astra Zeneca, contributing at each stage in the company’s acquisition timeline for more than 30 years.
In 1959, she married the love of her life, Arthur Edward Wheeler Jr. From that union, three children were born: Arthur Edward Wheeler III, Andrea Wheeler and Angela Wheeler. Velma loved to tell the story about her family and how it grew unexpectedly when she delivered identical twin girls. Angela went undetected on the ultrasound, convincing everyone except her sister, Marian Rudd, that Velma was carrying only one child instead of two.
In earlier years, Velma loved being a homemaker and raising her three children before returning to her career. In retirement, she enjoyed continuing with her community service and volunteering, and made memorable contributions to others’ lives through projects with Community Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Day events, delivering food to the needy through Meals on Wheels, making charitable donations, and quiet acts of kindness for family and friends near and far. In fact, for Christmas one year each of her children received the gift of a goat from her in their honor to help feed families and children in needy African villages. The real GOAT (greatest of all time) was Velma for her quiet, steady acts of service all her life.
Velma will be remembered for her love for her family, easy-going personality, beauty, style, wit, and devotion to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She enjoyed gardening, days at the beach, travel, the Dollar Store, Trader Joe’s and a good bargain at a fine department store.
Velma is survived by her children, Arthur (Jill) Edward Wheeler III of Wilmington, Del., Andrea Wheeler and CC Wilson of Southern Maryland, and Angela Wheeler of Baltimore, Md.; sister, Marian Rudd; brother, Theodore Edwards; grandchildren, Arthur Edward Wheeler IV, Jason Wheeler and Megan Barnett. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends will mourn her departure.
Family and friends may make a donation in Velma’s honor to the American Heart Association or Heifer International. We understand the indescribable feeling that isolation from Velma has brought to family and friends during this time. We hope to share more of Velma’s story and celebrate her life with you when the virus calms down. Memorial services will be planned in Spring 2021. Please consider contributing to a digital memory book. To offer condolences, comments and your stories about Velma, email email@example.com to submit remarks or a favorite photo by Jan. 31, for publication later in the year.