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Nancy L. Wheeler

Nancy L. Wheeler, 63, passed away January 26, 2010 at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls. She was born on April 25, 1946 in Sioux Falls to Marion and Isabel (Fleming) Wheeler; growing up in Montrose. Nancy began her career at O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls where she experienced the joy of teaching and the excitement of working on theatre productions. During her tenure at O'Gorman, she captured the minds of many students, encouraging them to see beyond the classroom walls. She pulled students out of the hall and into the theatre, allowing them to find their inner child, their goofy nature and discover themselves. She was involved with competitive speech and theatre activities both as a coach and judge at the high school and collegiate levels. Nancy accepted a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at SDSU. Upon completing her degree, the department created a position specifically for her that she never left. Over the course of 31 years at SDSU, she directed 22 plays for State University Theatre, not including 4 experimental theatre productions after initiating the program. Nancy 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. Nancy 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." Nancy has impacted actors, technicians, and students. There is no telling the number of peoples' lives that she touched. Nancy is survived by her husband: Rodney Bindert, Brookings, SD; her dad: Marion Wheeler, Sioux Falls, SD; her sister: Rita (Elery) Lewis, Hartford, SD; nieces: Lisa (Kent) Huemoeller, Hartford, SD, Kathy (Rob) Junker, Sioux Falls, SD; nephew: David (Erin) Lewis, Sioux Falls, SD; and 8 great-nieces. She was preceded in death by her mom, Isabel Wheeler, and 7 infant brothers and sisters. Memorials may be directed to the SDSU Performing Arts Center or the O'Gorman High School Performing arts Center. Visitation will be Sunday, 2 PM at St. Michael Parish with a Scripture Vigil at 4 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, 10:30 AM at St. Michael Parish with burial to follow at St. Patrick Cemetery in Montrose.

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