Donna Rose Duck Wheeler
Donna Rose Duck Wheeler, of Hattiesburg, MS, and longtime employee of William Carey University, died Wednesday, November 13, after a long battle with brain cancer. She was 71.
Donna is survived by her husband, Dr. E. Milton Wheeler.
Donna was born to Fred and Myrtle Duck of Bay Minette, AL on January 16, 1942. She was graduated from Baldwin County High School and received a degree in Secretarial Science from William Carey University in 1965. Donna served the University for 42 years until retirement in 2007. She worked in several administrative positions including Assistant to the President and in the Offices of Student Affairs and Admissions. The University was also the place where she met the love of her life, E. Milton Wheeler, a young history professor. When Milton proposed, it was noted that Donna was the best typist on campus and he just happened to need a doctoral dissertation typed!
Donna served her last 17 years at the University as Alumni Director, a position she not only loved but excelled at doing. She had a genuine interest in the lives of Carey alumni, keeping up with them on a personal basis. Donna considered everyone she met a friend. She had a tremendous gift of service, doting on her husband, friends, and family. A fine example of her service was the goodie bags she assembled for friends and family on the day of her surgery, just in case it went a bit too long.
William Carey University awarded Donna with the Doctorate of Humane Letters, an honorary degree in 2007. As part of the University's Centennial Celebration in 2006, she wrote a pictorial history book of the University. She also received a 2006 Outstanding Service Award. In the same year, the Donna Duck Wheeler Alumni House was named in her honor. She and Milton were honored at Homecoming 2006 for their four decades of outstanding service and generous financial support of the University.
Donna was an active member of First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg since her college days. She was a co-teacher in the Sunday School department and taught pre-school children for more than 25 years. She was a member of the Hestians, a local woman's organization and served as first vice president in 2007. Donna was an experienced world traveler, joining and assisting Milton on his numerous tours abroad. Donna supported many local charities, including United Way, American Cancer Association, and the American Heart Association. She served on the community advisory council for Wesley Manor and capably assisted her husband with his many leadership roles in Rotary International
Along with her husband, Donna is survived by two loving and devoted sisters: Judy (Mike) Wade of Bay Minette, AL and Darlene (David) Cook of Thomasville, GA. She is also survived by two nephews: Breton Wade and John Cook, and two nieces: April Wade Johnson and Kelsey Cook. In addition, she is survived by her cousin, Margaret (Carlton) Boutwell of Bay Minette, AL, whom she viewed as a loving sister.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the William Carey University Donna Wheeler Scholarship Fund, WCU 141, 498 Tuscan Avenue, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.
A celebration memorial service will be held Saturday, December 7, at 10:00 a.m., Smith Auditorium, Thomas Fine Arts Center, William Carey University, with Dr. Tommy King, WCU president, officiating.