In Memory

Christopher E. A. Wiley

7/1/1953 - 7/2/2018

Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. (Psalms 62:10 NLT) These are words that Mr. Christopher “Chris” Wiley affectionately known as Mr. Wiley, embodied and exuded throughout his lifetime. Although this faithful man of God came from humble beginnings, the life he led was truly marvelous in our eyes.
Born on July 1, 1953 in Chicago, IL. to Fletcher and Mary Elizabeth (Banyard) Wiley. Chris graduated high school from St. Ignatius Catholic Preparatory in Chicago. During his journey into manhood, in the mid 1970’s he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
In June of 1979, Chris and a few of his friends walked into a Christian (of course) coffee house.
Upon entering the coffee house, they were greeted by the sweet music of a gentle, loving songbird, Brenda (Rogers). It’s at this point Chris turned to his buddies and said, for no reason at all, “that is NOT my wife. On June 10, 1980, he proposed to Brenda and they were married on August 23, 1980. In August of this year they were to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary. So much for Brenda not being his wife.
Chris and Brenda were joined in their blessed union by son Adonis Prometheus Dartanian Wiley, born on August 16, 1975. Later Chris received a job offer from Catholic Services in Omaha, Nebraska and the Wiley’s moved to Omaha in 1981. It was here the Wiley household was completed on August 7, 1989 with the birth of their second son, Matthew David Benjamin Wiley. During this time Chris also worked for the Equal Opportunity Employment Offices.
Chris later went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Language Arts and a minor in history, from Creighton University While working at the Urban League of Nebraska on North 16th St. Chris met his first students. At the Urban League Chris offered Urban League Black College Tours, computer education classes, tutoring, ACT Prep (shout Amen if you remember the early mornings and McDonalds breakfast sandwiches) just to name a few of the many services he was committed to providing.
Chris went on to obtain a Teaching Certificate from UNO, as well as a Masters in Behavioral Science. He then taught 3rd and 5th grades at Skinner Magnet Center. Leading, challenging, and equipping students, parents, OPS staff members and the Omaha community.
The Wiley’s joined the Risen Son Family in 1999. Chris was very active serving in capacities from custodian to Financial Secretary. He was intentional with sharing his beliefs and working in the day to day ministry of the Church. If you are unsure what it means to live a blessed life, look no further than the life of Mr. Wiley; the life of a servant.
Chris eventually and finally obtained a Master’s Degree in Counseling. With this addition Mr. Wiley began working at Omaha North high school and would become the only African American, male, Counselor in the state of Nebraska. This statement was true until the time of his transition. Mr. Wiley was exemplary in his service and faithful in his duties to Omaha North.
He was a tangible example of care, compassion, and concern with a dose of reality. He was not only available to his students, colleagues and parents; but those parents and students making the drive from other schools to speak with him as well. At Omaha North, he sponsored many groups and clubs including the Annual Black History Challenge, Latino Leaders and a Prayer Group just to name a few.
Mr. Wiley spent a total of 13 years educating himself and dedicated his life to educating others. Chris Wiley was the epitome of what answering the call to action looked like. He believed in working in the community and not just being visible. For him it was not about collecting accolades in the community or pats on the back. He gave his time effort, talent and energy to working with several organizations including 100 Black Men’s Saturday School, tutoring at St. Mark Baptist Church and Skinner Magnet Center, and Credit Recovery with the Omaha Urban League.
Mr. Wiley was also a fervent supporter of Metropolitan Community college, Chris annually accompanied hundreds of youth to cultural programming and assisted thousands of students with admissions and scholarship applications. A number of the lives he touched were not necessarily in any of the programs he led or supported. Some of you may know him as; mentor, personal cheering section, father figure, friend, motivator, encourager, advocate, believer, committed, man of action, man of substance, husband, father, wise, big appetite, appreciative, connected, gifted, humorous, and most importantly being one of his babies!
Although every organization, person and service impacted by Mr. Wiley’s life of dedication and servitude cannot be listed, we are all privileged to wear the stamp bearing the fingerprints of his influence across humanity. Wear it well and in the words of Mr. Wiley, “Shuckins, be ready to take that whoopin”!

Tribute Service: Sunday, July 8, 2018 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm at Omaha North High School (Main Auditorium)

Celebration of Chris' Life: Monday, July 9, 2018 at 11:00am at Salem Baptist Church (3131 Lake St.)

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Risen Son Baptist Church, 4932 Ohio St, Omaha, NE 68104

Braman Mortuary (72 St. Chapel)
1702 N. 72 St.
Omaha, NE 68114

'Real life superhero:' North Omaha counselor and teacher touched countless lives

By Anna Bauman / World-Herald staff writer


Chris Wiley’s impact on north Omaha extends well beyond the hallways at his high school.

It’s the multiple generations of young people whose lives he touched. It’s the countless doors and possibilities he opened for students unaware of their own potential. It’s the miles and miles he walked with students through life’s ups and downs.

As one North High student put it, his impact is unforgettable.

“Mr. Wiley was just one of those people that you’ll never forget,” said Sanjaya Bolton, who will be a senior at North.

Wiley, a North High guidance counselor and one of a few African-American male counselors in the area, died Monday, a day after celebrating his 65th birthday among friends and family at Risen Son Baptist Church.

“It’s a devastating loss,” said the Rev. T. Michael Williams, his pastor at Risen Son.

Williams, who became friends with Wiley in 1986, said Wiley was a man of strong morals and faith who dedicated himself to his family and students. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Wiley began working in the Omaha Public Schools in 1999. Before North, he taught fifth grade at Skinner Magnet Center and worked with children at the Urban League of Nebraska.

“Our hearts are heavy with grief,” read a statement from OPS. “Chris Wiley has selflessly served the Omaha community and our youth for decades. He leaves behind a legacy of mentorship, encouragement and support for thousands of kids in the Omaha community — current students and alumni. He will be greatly missed at Omaha North, OPS and throughout the city of Omaha.”

Giovanni Jones, now 45, was one of Wiley’s first students at the Urban League when she was 12. Jones regarded Wiley as a father after losing her own at an early age. He invited her over for dinner with his family, drove to Lincoln to give her a ride to her college graduation and checked in on her throughout her mother’s illness.

That’s the kind of support he offered to the hundreds of students he taught and counseled.

Jones said Wiley inspired her to become a teacher. His dedication to his community taught her about the importance of giving back.

“The biggest lesson I learned from him is you never forget your community,” Jones said. “You never forget to reach back and give a helping hand.”

Wiley had a way of making each person feel special, Jones said.

“He must have been a low-key, real-life superhero because that’s the only way I can imagine that you have that much energy to give to others,” Jones said. “When you give, sometimes you get depleted, but it seemed like he always had an ample supply.”

Bolton, president of her class at North, said she originally planned to run for vice president, but she sought the highest position after encouragement from Wiley. That’s one example of the ways he pushed her and other students to challenge themselves with harder classes and new opportunities. He taught them they can accomplish things they never thought possible.

“He’s always a No. 1 supporter,” Bolton said. “He always wants the best for everyone ... he wants to see everybody succeed.”

When she speaks at graduation next year, Bolton said, she knows she will mention him as a testament to all the lives he influenced.

His current and former students now face the task of living up to the lessons he instilled in them, Jones said.

“I have to pick up my piece of the mantle that he left behind. I have to run with that,” she said. “That’s how I honor his legacy. That’s how I honor his drive and his compassion and his legacy.”

A public funeral service is planned for 11 a.m. Monday at Salem Baptist Church. Visitation will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at North High.