OAHS TEMPO Parents Dedicate Tree to Janice Wheeler

Mother of Band Director Robert Wheeler remembered for her exemplary support

It took twelve years to accomplish, but perseverance paid off.  

Members of the school’s TEMPO club, a parent organization for the school’s music programs, have long wanted to honor a special woman for all the support she gave to their sons and daughters.  Janice Wheeler, mother of OAHS band director Rob Wheeler, passed away 12 years ago, shortly after Rob graduated from

TEMPO members chose to plant a tree in her behalf, but had to wait year after year, because of school construction.  Finally, they were given the go-ahead to plant the tree this year, and they chose a tulip tree, which was planted last week right outside the entrance to the school’s music department.   

Then, this Wednesday, they gathered all the TEMPO parents from Janice’s era, and held a dedication ceremony in her behalf.

“All of our kids have graduated and a new generation has come along.  It seemed like it would never end, but here we are,” said George Farrell, former president of TEMPO.

In his dedication, Farrell said that he and others decided to plant a tulip tree because of its grand stature, which would be a reminder of what a true TEMPO parent was. 

“Kids can come into the music area, and they will be welcomed just as they were by Janice,” he said.

Other TEMPO parents said that they will never forget how much Janice supported Rob, who was a star trumpet player when he attended Oliver Ames.  They also said that they never worried when their children traveled with the music department, because Janice would keep strict tabs on all the kids, making sure they did everything they were supposed to.

“She was wonderful.  She did everything she could for the kids, and she’s sorely missed,” said Mary Ippolito, whose son and daughter were in the band and color guard.

Rob Wheeler said he was honored and grateful for the tribute.  He also said his mother would be would have loved the new music facility, which includes the high school’s new performing arts center.  

“My mother loved music and the department, and it’s great to see the tree here.  She’ll be remembered for a long time,” he said.

Brian Hoffman , who served as TEMPO president when Rob was a student, said that Janice would no doubt be proud of all of Rob’s accomplishments.   The multiple bands have won an impressive array of awards under his leadership, and the OA Marching Band will be participating in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., next Monday.

“He’s a remarkable educator who has really connected with the kids,” he said.  

Todd Sandstrum May 25, 2012 at 02:07 AM
When Mr. Farrell came to Flynn's Farm and asked for our help I was happy to do so. Then to find out as we worked on what kind of tree would work best that it was for Janice Wheeler, I was moved. I was one of the many OA music students that was there and watched her support her son Rob, as well as every kid in the music department. Growing up in and out of OA with Rob Wheeler and being around his mother was always an adventure. She was one to always speak her mind but also there to give you a hug if you needed one on a bad day. Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly known as the tulip tree, the American tulip tree is one of the tallest eastern hard wood trees. This tree will stand by the doors to Oliver Ames welcoming all that come as it stands above all others trees on the Easton Schools Campus, just like Janice did.
Mary Hoffman May 31, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Janice Wheeler - or as many of us lovingly referred to her - Flash Wheeler - was a true friend. She was a mentor and a coach on many of the long trips when we were away from home. She was the shoulder to cry on if you had anything going on at school and was the first person to celebrate major milestones, like getting your license, getting a lead in the school play and getting into college. Whenever I think of the truly memorable and favorable times at high school, undoubtedly, Flash was there. She has left her indelible mark on this Tiger.....she is missed greatly....


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