BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – After teaching music at Seton Catholic Central for over 40 years, James Wheeler passed away shortly after retiring in 2016.
The school celebrated Wheeler’s legacy by unveiling a student-made portrait after All Saints Day Mass on Wednesday.
The portrait was created by former Seton student Alina Galyon, and features Wheeler’s face, surrounded by some of his favorite pieces of music, including Don’t Stop Believing and Sweet Caroline.
Wheeler’s family was in attendance for mass, and the unveiling.
Former colleague of Wheeler’s, and teacher at Seton, George Phillips says the portrait will be hung above the main entrance to the gymnasium, so everyone can be reminded of his smile.
Teacher at Seton Catholic Central, George Phillips says, “One day I asked Mr. Wheeler if he still enjoyed playing music himself. He held up his hands, and I could see his fingers were crippled by arthritis. He couldn’t play music anymore. He had given everything he could to his students and his trade. And his students adored him, many of them called him wheels.”
Wheeler organized the stage band that plays during Seton sporting events.
As his portrait was unveiled, the current stage band played Don’t Stop Believing.