xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

First Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland executive director remembered as passionate, caring

When the weather was snowy and the commute was slippery, Peggy Sheeler quickly picked up a phone to call newscasters. She had a message that needed to be spread:

"Meals on Wheels will not serve today. Use your food from your emergency supply," her daughter Lois Sheeler-Duncan recalls her mother saying.

As the former executive director of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, Sheeler considered it imperative that the message be disseminated to the public. And friends and family remember that throughout her life, Sheeler, 84, was a staunch advocate for the elderly, a woman filled with compassion for community service, family and church.

Sheeler, of Westminster and formerly of Eldersburg, died Thursday at Carroll Hospice's Dove House.

"She lived out her faith, and she lived out caring for other people all the time," Sheeler-Duncan, of Kingsville, said.

Others often called her "Aunt Peggy," though she didn't have any brothers or sisters of her own. That's because she created a familial atmosphere with her friends, Sheeler-Duncan said, and she had a warm personality, said daughter Karen Sheeler St. Jean.

"I don't know anybody that she didn't get along with," Sheeler St. Jean said. "She was just accepting of anybody - no matter what color they were, where they came from, she was always very accepting."

Born Aug. 15, 1929, in Baltimore, Sheeler was progressive for the time as she almost always had a steady job, Sheeler-Duncan said. During 1950, about one in three women participated in the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sheeler graduated as a registered nurse from the Maryland General Hospital nursing program in 1950 and then worked as a nurse in the public health department in Baltimore.

After she had her two daughters, she returned to work at a school for disabled children. But a few years later, she met her life's work, according to Sheeler-Duncan.

In 1967, Sheeler helped write a grant to receive funding from the federal Older Americans Act to create a central office in downtown Baltimore, forming a committee called Baltimore Metropolitan Meals on Wheels, according to Debbie Brown, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland's communications director.

The nonprofit helps deliver meals to those who are homebound, according to its website.

And in 1969, Sheeler became the first executive director of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. It was a position she held for many years, helping to lay the groundwork for one of the largest Meals on Wheels programs, according to Brown.

"She was a great mentor for me and was full of wisdom," said Lynelle Osborn, Meals on Wheels Carroll County's regional manager.

The two used to travel together to an annual fundraiser, and Osborn said they would have great conversations during those car trips.

Sheeler also worked for the Baltimore City Commission on Aging & Retirement Education, and Family and Children's Society.

Faith was important to Sheeler, her daughters said, and she took a leadership role in whichever church she was a part of.

Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane recalls when he first started working for the Delaware-Maryland Synod - a district of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - several years ago.

He wasn't in the office three days when Sheeler told him she needed to meet him and involve him in planning an annual event at Carroll Lutheran Village she'd started to honor those in the Delaware-Maryland Synod who participate in community service and social work.

"So I made this the No. 1 priority because she would pester me until I did," he said with a laugh.

She instilled a lifelong love of helping others into her daughters, one of whom is a nurse and the other of whom is a social worker, both having taken after their mother's career path.

"She was just wonderful," Sheeler St. Jean said. "Just always thinking about the other person and how she could help them."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement