Beloved professor, theatre director dies

Barnette-Lewis Funeral Home

Beloved professor and director of theatre at SDSU, Nancy Wheeler, 63, died Jan. 26 in Sioux Falls.

She was born on April 25, 1946 in Sioux Falls to Marion and Isabel (Fleming) Wheeler; and grew up in Montrose, S.D.

During the course of 31 years at SDSU, she directed 22 plays for State University Theatre, not including four experimental theatre productions after initiating the program.

Wheeler had an incredible run with State University Theatre, including a commendation from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival for her production of The Diary of Anne Frank. For 27 years, she was a part of Prairie Repertory Theatre. During those remarkable years, she directed 26 productions and created the Company Manager position.

Wheeler did not only work in theatre, but also in the classroom, which she dearly enjoyed. Her teaching style has been praised by many. She was quoted once saying,”Teachers need to remember that they are not the most important one in the room, the students are.”

Wheeler has impacted actors, technicians, and students. There is no telling the number of lives that she touched.

A recent Facebook group was started, titled “Nancy Wheeler- Thoughts and Memories” of which 578 people are now members of. The group includes posts from people that discuss their favorite memories of Wheeler. Some members of the group also posted poems of remembrance.

Readers should look for the larger feature story of remembrance on Wheeler that will appear in the Feb. 10 issue of The Collegian.