Sue Elizabeth Anderson Wheeler passed on April 3, 2021, at the age of 90, at Kansas City Hospice House. Born on March 24, 1931, she was the middle child and only daughter of Collins Fairfax Anderson, Sr., and Ophelia Baker Anderson. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Dr. Robert R. “Bob” Wheeler of 52 years, and her brothers Lewis Cecil Williams and Collins Fairfax “Buzzy” Anderson, Jr.
Sue was raised north of 27th Street, as were many Black people in those days, but she never let race stand as a barrier to life, she once wrote. She graduated in 1948 from Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1952 from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in History. She later earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City. Sue was active in her church and community. She was a deacon at her beloved St. Paul Presbyterian Church, where she belonged most of her adult life and where she was married. She was a lifetime member of the PTA and NAACP and an active Golden member of the Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., (AKA) until recent years. Her lifelong love and service to AKA spanned more than 60 years.
Sue taught in public schools from coast to coast, Kansas City, Missouri, Oakland, California, and Tacoma Park, Maryland, as they moved following Bob’s career steps. She loved the primary grades and most always taught kindergarten or 1st grade. She was masterful at what she did and could teach anyone to read. Parents with multiple children requested her classroom as her teaching style and preparing children for the next level was second to none.
In later years, after retiring from her last school assignment, she continued her life of service by becoming the neighborhood “free” Uber. She ran errands, took the elderly to the dentist, the doctor, picked up groceries, prescriptions, you name it, she did it. She was always busy.
If you knew Sue, you knew someone special. She was a absolute joy to be around. If you ever sat at her kitchen table, it was a true treat in many ways. Not only was she a good cook, but she offered advice, counsel, and encouragement that you didn’t know you were even getting. She had a way about her that was the perfect ying to Bob’s yang. She was smooth and quiet, subtle and kind, but she was powerful, and what she said to you somehow stuck with you. She was a proponent of education, and if you weren’t in school, she encouraged you until you were. If you were thinking of doing something she frowned upon, she didn’t quite frown, but she gently suggested you probably shouldn’t do that, and you usually didn’t because secretly, you didn’t want to disappoint her. She always instinctively knew what you needed or what you wanted. She would plant flowers in your yard, both literally and figuratively, and she would come back and water them or make sure you did. She always had an answer for you, and she always had time to listen to whatever you wanted to talk about.
She raised her children and grandchildren with dignity and pride. She touched everyone she met and if you crossed her threshold, you were no longer a stranger. Always welcomed at her table, her children’s friends visited even when her children weren’t present for a moment of wise counsel and a piece of famous apple pie or to grab a jar of Cha Cha that had been set back for them or hoping maybe, just maybe she would whip up a batch of waffles on the spot.
Sue lived a purposeful life. She gave her very best to everyone she encountered without a second thought. She was funny and genuinely warm. Regardless of whether she was Mom, Grandma, Aunt Sue, Granny Sue, Mrs. Sue, Mrs. Wheeler to you, she will not be easily forgotten; she has left an indelible mark on our hearts and a legacy we will spend a lifetime trying to live up to.
Sue Elizabeth Anderson Wheeler is survived by two daughters Robin Wheeler Sanders (Anthony) of Kansas City and Stefanie Moore of Chicago, one son Robert R. “Skip” Wheeler III (Regina) of Kansas City, three grandsons Robert R. Wheeler IV (Charlene), Roderick R. Wheeler and Nelson A. Wheeler; three great-grandchildren Chai M. Wheeler, Rhylie R. Wheeler and Robert R. Wheeler V and a host of nieces, nephews, family through marriage and lifelong friendships that are as close to us as blood relatives.
Funeral services will be held at St, Paul Presbyterian Church, 10:00 a.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021 with Interment at Leavenworth National Cemetery, LVNKS immediately following.
Service conducted by Watkins Heritage Chapel. Condolences may be shared on our website. Due to COVID-19, social distancing and face coverings are required. Temperature checks for all guest(s).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Paul Presbyterian Church, the oldest African American Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.
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