Former pastor honored by state

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 11, 2001

A former Ironton resident who recently retired was honored in May by the governor and the Department of Aging.

Monday, June 11, 2001

A former Ironton resident who recently retired was honored in May by the governor and the Department of Aging. Glen Wheeler was one of the 2001 inductees into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame May 8.

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"I couldn’t believe I would be so recognized," Wheeler said.

"It is difficult to believe that out of the whole state of Ohio, I would be selected to be one of 10."

The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame honors 10 senior citizens each year for their achievements and contributions to others. To be inducted, one must be an Ohio native or have lived in Ohio for 20 years or more and be over 60 years of age.

Wheeler’s award recognized lifetime achievement, he said.

Plaques honoring each of this year’s inductees will hang in the Martin Janis Senior Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus for one year.

The other inductees this year included another minister, community activists, military veterans and late writer Erma Bombeck.

Fifteen years of the 56-year long ministry for which Wheeler was recognized took place in Ironton. He was the pastor of the Central Christian Church from 1961 to 1976.

Wheeler said he enjoyed living in this area.

"We were fortunate to have him," Roy Ratliffe, a member of the Central Christian Church, said.

"I’m happy he was a part of our fellowship for many years."

Wheeler was pastor of the church when it moved from a location at Fifth and Quincy streets to its current facility at 1541 S. Seventh St. He was instrumental in guiding the congregation through the transition, Ratliffe said.

Wheeler’s late wife, Evelyn, was a warm, friendly person, Ratliffe said.

Both of Wheeler’s sons graduated from Ironton High School and joined their father’s profession. David Wheeler is now a professor at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tenn., and Dennis is the minister of the Church of Christ in Sturgis, Mich.

Wheeler was honored while he lived in Ironton as well. In 1976 he was awarded in connection with the Memorial Day Parade and he received the Ironmaster Award.

During his ministry, Wheeler served as a trustee and president of the Alumni Association and Council of Seventy at Johnson Bible College; the National Prayer Chairman; and a member of the Continuation Committee for the North American Christian Convention, the National Speakers Association and the Ohio Speakers Forum. Until his retirement, Wheeler continued to preach at various churches as a guest minister and was the Chaplain for Worthington Christian Village, the non-profit facility for retirees where his lives.

Wheeler said he believes ministry is not just about what is done in the pulpit; it is important to serve and encourage people and for the church to provide opportunities for leadership for young people.

"He certainly was a good leader, good preacher and a good organizer," Central Christian Church member Vincel Willis said.

Willis and his wife, Frances, attended the induction ceremony and Wheeler’s retirement party May 31. Over 200 people gathered to honor Wheeler’s retirement, Willis said, some coming from Michigan.

Wheeler was further honored at the party with commendations from Gov. Bob Taft and Rep. Deborah Pryce, he said.

Health reasons forced Wheeler to retire. The 75-year-old will not give up all his activities, though.

"I hope to spend my time writing," he said.

Wheeler has been a successful writer. He has written four books and two CD-ROMs as well as many articles and columns.

He said his book about the life of a widower is currently being reviewed by a publisher, and he has ideas for many more articles.

Mostly, though, Wheeler said he plans to relax.

"Time to find me a rocking chair and rock, rock, rock," he said with a laugh.