Obituary: Mona Wheatley, 1934-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Mona Wheatley, 1934-2021

Middlebury College graduate went on to direct the school's bicentennial celebration

Published December 30, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

Mona Wheatley - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Mona Wheatley

Mona Meyers Wheatley, 87, passed away on Saturday evening, November 27, 2021, in Dallas, Texas, surrounded by loved ones. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ann R. and Edward F. Meyers, Mona grew up in Pepper Pike. She attended Hathaway Brown School; went to Middlebury College, where she received her BA; and later earned her master’s degree from Boston University. While teaching at Center School in Bedford, Mass., in the 1970s, she organized phonathons around the country for Middlebury. Her beloved alma mater hired her as director of annual funds in 1980, and she served in numerous positions in development and alumni relations for the remainder of her career, culminating with her role as director of bicentennial planning for Middlebury’s celebration in 2000.

Mona raised her family in Lexington, Mass., and, following her retirement from Middlebury, moved to Nantucket, where she kept busy working in an antiques shop and serving as an enthusiastic ambassador for the island. Mona spent many winters in Sanibel, Fla., where she became an avid duplicate bridge player. She moved to a retirement community in Dallas for the last six years of her life.

Mona was an active member of the Middlebury, Sanibel and Nantucket Rotary Clubs, as well as St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Sanibel and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Nantucket.

Mona was an invested community member, embracing opportunities to address a need. She served on the founding board of Middlebury’s first infant and toddler child center, Otter Creek Day Care; mentored young professionals in philanthropy, individually as well as within the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education; helped form Vermont Women in Higher Education, from which she received the Sister Elizabeth Candon Distinguished Service Award in 1999; co-organized the Ice Fraus, one of the earliest synchronized figure-skating teams, at the Hayden Recreation Center in Lexington, Mass., in the 1960s; and served as an accountant for the United States Figure Skating Association.

Spirited, passionate, committed, energetic, fun and a force — words that describe this strong woman who threw herself fully into every endeavor with an infectious can-do spirit. The sign on Mona’s desk at Middlebury declared her “Director of Annual Fun,” an appropriate printer’s error. She was a world traveler, cared deeply about social justice and, while she had strong opinions of her own, listened deeply to understand others. She was invigorated by the presence of young people and reflected the optimism they shared for the future. Genuinely interested in every person, she was a master of the probing question and remembered each person’s story. She loved to entertain and was a popular host and desired party guest.

Her youngest fans referred to her as “Momo” and often called upon her to perform the witch’s cackle she perfected as a teen on a radio show. Mona treasured moments reading, talking, traveling and singing show tunes with her children, grandchildren, and great-nieces and -nephews. She blurred the line between work and fun, celebrating life and people, and filling her time and others’ with curiosity and adventure. She was an inspiration and role model to many for overcoming life’s challenges and pursuing excellence while giving of oneself to make the world a better place.

Mona is predeceased by her beloved parents, Ann and Ed Meyers. She leaves behind her brother, Ed Meyers, and his wife, Fran, a lifelong friend and chosen sister, of Novelty, Ohio; as well as her three children: John Lewis Wheatley III and his wife, Karen, of Foxboro, Mass.; Linda Ann Wheatley of East Montpelier, Vt.; and Allison Wheatley Bovard and her husband, Chris, of Dallas, Texas. She also leaves behind her seven grandchildren: Kelly Steffen; Nipa Wheatley; Christian Lyman and his wife, Stephanie; Caroline Wheatley; and Charlie, Sam and Jack Bovard; as well as her ex-husband, Jack Wheatley. She is also survived by her five nieces and nephews: Lisa Abrahamson Nagel and her husband, Mike; Karl Abrahamson and his wife, Francoise McAree; Charlie Meyers and his wife, Jessica; Jim Meyers; Mallory Meyers Taylor and her husband, Paul; and so many others who were lucky enough to be part of her world.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Nantucket, Mass.; the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, Vt.; Vermont Women in Higher Education in Burlington, Vt.; the Nantucket Historical Association in Nantucket, Mass.; or a charity of your choice. There will be a celebration of Mona’s life this summer on Nantucket.

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