Mary Susan Parker Wheeler was born in Greenwood, South Carolina. She is the oldest child of the late Forrest Bailey Parker and Louise Miller Parker. Her mother, a graduate of Allen University, was a teacher, who graduated with honors from the Atlanta University School of Library Science and served as librarian at East End Elementary School in Greenwood until her retirement. Her father was a successful businessman who has the distinction of building and operating what probably remains South Carolina’s first and only African-American owned and operated nine hole golf course, Cokesbury Hills Country Club in Hodges, South Carolina.
Mary Susan completed high school at Boylan-Haven Mather Academy in Camden, South Carolina. She graduated from Spelman College with a B.A. degree in History. She later attended Troy State University in Montgomery, Alabama receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching. She is a certified Public Housing Manager and for twenty-one years worked in Student Services and as a History/Social Science instructor at Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama), Martin University (Indianapolis, IN), Butler University and at Indiana University/Purdue University/Indianapolis. She continues to serve as an Adjunct Instructor in the Africana Studies Program at IUPUI. She is also presently an Adjunct Professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center where she teaches the course “The History of the Black Church in America.”
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pi Alpha Omega Chapter. She has served in many leadership capacities in various chapters across the country wherever she lived. Most recently she served as the Chair Person for the successful fund raiser “Through the Years…The Power of a Dream” that benefited the Ivy and Roses Community Fund. That foundation provides financial support for various charitable causes and the community service work of Pi Alpha Omega Chapter.
She is married to Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, President Emeritus of Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis, IN) and who is now serving as the tenth President of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. They are the parents of three daughters, grand-parents of three and the proud great-grandparents of one.