Charlotte legend Lynn Wheeler dies at 80

CHARLOTTE — Longtime city councilmember and Charlotte legend Lynn Wheeler died on Saturday at the age of 80.

She’s credited with bringing the Spectrum Center to Uptown. In her 14 years on Charlotte’s City Council, she undoubtedly helped morph the city into the bustling community it is today.

On her birthday on Thursday, she was admitted to the hospital after an earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She died just two days later on Saturday night.

“She loved Charlotte through and through,” said Ridenhour, a former Mecklenburg County commissioner whom Wheeler coached as he first ran for public office himself. “She loved this city and wanted to see it become the best Charlotte it could be. She liked to be that whip for votes because she was very effective with connecting with people.”

Channel 9′s Government Reporter Joe Bruno, who befriended Wheeler, said “if you had the opportunity to be friends with Lynn, you were blessed. I was blessed. She always took the opportunity to tell you she loved you. I will miss her so much.”

Wheeler was first elected to the City Council in 1989. She chaired the city’s economic development committee and was a key player in the controversial move to spend hundreds of millions of public dollars on an uptown arena for the Charlotte Hornets, according to the Charlotte Observer. She was voted out of office in her next election, but politicians and citizens see her as instrumental to the city’s growth.

Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield sent a statement to Channel 9 about her long-time friend.

“Madeline “Lynn” Wheeler was a Gift GOD knew I needed. Our time together grew over a decade beyond friendship to Family,” Mayfield said. We shared ideas, talked about local & national politics, broke bread & laughed together. I was blessed to be with her during recent surgeries and to say my goodbye to her & let her know how much I Loved her before she transitioned to Heaven.”

“The coliseum was out on Tyvola Road and as we began to grow and see the possibilities of change, sports management, the way sports is presented,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, said, “we knew that we had to have a population strong enough to serve those buildings and facilities and uptown is where we started, she was an advocate for the center city and that arena is part of her legacy.”

Wheeler also served as mayor pro temp and served the city on countless boards and commissions.

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