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Wiley H. Wheat, 86 Formerly of Farmville Dies February 15

RICHMOND, Feb. 17 – Wiley Hardy Wheat, 86, widow of James Clifton Wheat Jr., loving mother, grandmother, and aunt, passed away peacefully after a brief illness, on Sunday morning, February 15, 2009. She was born on October 19, 1922 to Dr. Thomas Graham Hardy and Elisabeth Jarman Hardy, and was raised in Farmville, where she graduated from Longwood College in 1943.

She married Jim Wheat in 1949, and they had a son, James Clifton Wheat III. They resided in Richmond most of their married life, where she was a pillar of support and encouragement to her husband in growing his business, Wheat, First Securities, and in his political and community service. She also shared her husband's love of St. James Church.

In her own right, she was extremely active in service to the community and historical and architectural societies. She was past-president of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Virginia, and in conjunction served as a regent of Gunston Hall and senior representative to the Sulgrave Manor Board (George Washington's ancestral home in England). She was devoted to Colonial Williamsburg where she was a member of the Raleigh Tavern Society, the Goodwin Society, and the President's Council. She served on the Board of Trustees of Hampden-Sydney College and on the Board of St. Margaret's School in Tappahannock.

In the 1980's, she and her husband undertook a painstaking and extensive renovation, with the expert oversight of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, of the 18th century manor house at Blandfield Essex County, where they resided until after her husband's death in 1992. She served as the Christmas Mother in 1983. She served on the Board of The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, and was appointed by two Governors of the Commonwealth to the Citizen's Advisory Council in Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion. She also served on the Board of Gateway Homes. She was a former member of the Junior League of Richmond, The Woman's Club, and the Tuckahoe Garden Club. She was also a member of the Country Club of Virginia.

She was preceded in death by her siblings, Elisabeth Hardy Murdoch, Dr. Thomas G. Hardy Jr., and Sarah Hardy Blanton. In addition to her son, she is survived by her grandchildren, Ella Remy Wheat, Elisabeth Parker Wheat, Susannah Wiley Wheat, and Emma Conquest Wheat; and her nieces and nephews, Elisabeth Blanton Shelor, Charles Armistead Blanton, and Thomas G. Hardy III, all of Richmond, Sally Murdock Brown of Atlanta, GA, Whitney Hardy Salie of Athens, GA, Margaret Murdock Page of Barnesville, GA, and Lindsay Hardy Mallison of Tallahassee, FL; and a multitude of great-nieces and great-nephews and friends.

The funeral service will be held at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at St. James Episcopal Church, 1205 West Franklin St., Richmond. Burial will be at 3 p.m. in Hollywood Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to St. James Church, Longwood University, or Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Bennett Funeral Home, Richmond, is serving the family.