Charlcya Wheeler, in her 18th year as a La Porte ISD trustee, resigned at the Board’s Sept. 7 regular meeting, effective immediately. In a letter to her Board colleagues, Wheeler cited health concerns as her reason for stepping down.
“Her true love and devotion for the entire community is what called her to serve, and serve she did,” said Kathy Green, a fellow trustee and longtime friend of Wheeler. “It was never about her, but about the community and everything else.”
Trustees on Tuesday said they would consider appointing a temporary board member to fill Wheeler’s seat until the next election in May 2022.
Following is an essay presented by Frank Nance, president of the Rotary Club of La Porte. It was presented when Charlcya was awarded an honorary Paul Harris Fellow award in June 2021.
Service Above Self” is the Rotary Club motto, but it also sums up the philosophy by which Charlcya Wheeler lives. From a cheerleader and Homecoming Queen in Trinity, to a young mom in La Porte, to a dedicated volunteer who has been involved in practically every positive endeavor in our community, Charlcya is always—and I mean ALWAYS—thinking of others.
There’s no way that I could come up with a complete list of the activities that Charlcya has been involved in. For many years, she managed the dental office of her husband, Dr. Ruede Wheeler, and through that and her many acts of volunteerism, everyone in town came to know her. When her children, Karen and Kent, were small, she became involved in school activities; among the first was walking them across the street to the high school football games.
Not only was she active in their school pursuits, but she was there for ALL children—in fact, the 1981 yearbook was dedicated to Charlcya for her devotion to students as a volunteer. After her own children graduated, she took great pride in her grandchildren’s activities, and three of her grandkids—Reyth, Charlee and Rowen—attended or are currently attending La Porte ISD schools. She was active in the La Porte Education Foundation for several decades, where she took a lead role in celebrating outstanding teachers while planning Breakfast with the Stars. Each year, you could also find her helping out with the La Porte High School musical, devoting countless hours to ticket sales and other efforts to help make the events successful. For the past 17 ½ years, she has served on the La Porte ISD Board of Trustees, serving several terms as secretary of the Board and attending many events to show her support for the children of our community.
Her first volunteering experience in La Porte was in 1964 – planning La Porte’s 75th Anniversary celebration. Since then, Charlcya also has been extremely involved in the La Porte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce, and in recognition of her volunteerism, she received both the Gus Groos Humanitarian Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Chamber. She served as chair of the Leadership La Porte program for many years and was very involved in the planning of the Chamber’s New Teacher Luncheon each fall.
She’s also been a volunteer with Shoreline Art League, Ladies Civic Club, First United Methodist Church, and the American Heart Association and many other organizations.
In the almost 57 years that Ruede has been a Rotarian, Charlcya has worked diligently behind the scenes. Charlcya is instrumental in Ruede being one of the highest ticket sellers for the annual Reverse Draw, and each Christmas she was a Rotary volunteer “ringing the bell” for the Salvation Army at Kroger—just to name a few. She does all of these things to help our club simply out of the goodness of her heart, with our only repayment the occasional pork chop lunch that was her favorite.
The volunteer efforts I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg for Charlcya, whose energy and enthusiasm for all things La Porte are unparalleled. She is a gracious, loving person of integrity and faith who prefers to shine the light on others rather than herself, and as I said at the start, she embodies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” It is a great privilege and honor to present Charlcya with an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow award to thank her for the multitude of ways she gives to and positively impacts our La Porte community.