Mary Lois Sharp Wheatley

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Jack MaryLois Wheatley.jpg

Mary Lois Sharp Wheatley was an artist and philanthropist and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She was born on November 27, 1926, in Salt Lake City. She graduated from East High School in 1944 and earned her bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Utah. She also studied art in New York City at the Art Students League of New York. She was a portrait artist.

She met Jack Wheatley in New York and they were married on April 11, 1952. They lived briefly in Virginia, Missouri, and Utah, then settled in California, where they lived in Palo Alto and Carmel. Together they had six children.

Wheatley served with her husband when he presided over the Colorado Denver Mission from 1978 to 1981. They also served as missionaries in the Portugal Porto Mission from 1989 to 1991.

She and her husband, Jack, were instrumental in the creation of the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University and in funding the acquisition of the museum’s signature piece by Carl Bloch, “Healing at the Pool of Bethesda.” Her works were featured at the museum in an exhibition in 2003.

Increasing the beauty of the BYU campus was the couple’s focus. They were instrumental in envisioning and building the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center. More than a thousand trees were planted under their leadership. She was a member of the BYU President’s Leadership Council. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) presented them with the 2012 Distinguished Friend of Education Award.

She died on January 4, 2013, after a long battle with the effects of a stroke.