Redlands Bowl Performing Arts to Honor Charles “Charlie” Wheeler as “Hero of the Arts” for 2018-2019 at Annual Dinner
Redlands, CA- Redlands Bowl Performing arts (RBPA) will honor Charles Wheeler as the “Hero of the Arts” at its Annual Dinner on Thursday, February 28, 2019. This prestigious award is being presented to Charles Wheeler in appreciation for his many years of contributions to the community as a longtime supporter of the arts.
Charles E. Wheeler, Col., USAF, Retired
Charles Wheeler has had a profound impact on the performing arts in the Inland Empire. As a long-time supporter of organizations like Redlands Bowl Performing Arts and the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, he has been a champion for the arts.
“The first time I came to the Bowl was in 1987 after 30 years in the Air Force. I found that one of the finest things at the Redlands Bowl is the symphony orchestras, both from Redlands and San Bernardino. I got to know several of the musicians- probably some of the finest musicians, not only in Southern California, but in the U.S.”
Charlie received his B.S. in accounting from Evansville College, (now University of Evansville, IN) in 1956 and was commissioned as an Air Force Reserve 2nd Lieutenant. He was employed by Ernst & Ernst accountants as an auditor in the Indianapolis office until called to active duty in February 1957.
He received training as a navigator at Ellington AFB (Air Force Base), TX and advanced training as an Electronic Warfare Officer at Keesler AFB, MS graduating in 1958. He was assigned to the 4130 Strategic Wing at Bergstrom AFB as an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) in B-52D’s. After a year he was instructor qualified and reassigned to Westover AFB, MA, 99th Bomb Wing, as one of five officer Instructor EWO’s responsible for the initial checkout of 52 officer EWO’s that were to replace the enlisted ECM Operators on combat crews. At Westover AFB Charlie was spot promoted to Captain and Major while on combat crews between 1960 and 1966 and accepted a commission into the Regular Air Force. Charlie was reassigned to McCoy AFB, FL in 1966 and flew 72 Arc Light combat missions in Vietnam with the 306th Bomb Wing from 1966 through 1968.
In 1970, he was reassigned to Norton AFB, CA as a Division Chief and contracting officer at Detachment 51. The unit was responsible for the engineering and support of the SR-71 and the NASA YF-12/SR-71C Research programs. While stationed at Norton AFB, CA, he received an MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1974. Charlie was promoted to Colonel in 1974 and assigned to Hill AFB, UT as Commodities Procurement Division Chief and in 1976 was assigned as Director of Procurement and Production for the Ogden Air Logistics Center.
While on active duty, Charlie received the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, three Meritorious Service Medals and five Air Medals.
Charlie retired from active duty March 1, 1987, and later employed by TRW as a member of the technical staff and retired from TRW in 1997.
Charlie was the first Chief Financial Officer of the Redlands Community Foundation. He was a past president of the Redlands Symphony Association and served on the Board for 13 years. He is also a Red Shirt Usher each season at the Redlands Bowl.
Charlie was on the Air Force Village West, Inc., Board of Directors from July 1989 and retired from that Board in June 2011. He had been the Corporate Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair of the Board. He is a member and past President of the Kiwanis Club of Redlands – Evening and is a Past Lt. Governor of Division 36 of Kiwanis International. Charlie is also a member of the Mt. Holyoke Lodge in South Hadley Falls, MA, raised December 16,1965, and a member of the San Bernardino Scottish Rite, Al Malaikah Shrine in Los Angeles and the Orange Belt Shrine Club.
Charlie married the former Bettye J. Fehd, who retired from Riverside County Health Department as a Sr. Public Health Nurse. They were married in 1956 in Evansville Indiana, Bettye died April 28, 2008. They have four children: Scott, Brian, Jean, and Nancy.
The RBPA Annual Dinner will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Redlands Country Club on Thursday, February 28, 2019. In addition to the Hero of the Arts presentation, the program will include special guest speaker Patricia Ward Kelly, wife of the late Gene Kelly. The evening will also include the announcement of the 96th Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival season, as well as the announcement of the theme for the annual Associates of the Redlands Bowl Benefit Gala. Attendees will be treated to a program of Broadway songs, including selections from the 2019 musical, Singin’ in the Rain.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact the Redlands Bowl office at (909) 793-7316 or email email@example.com.