R. Benjamin Wiley, 59, of Erie, and formerly of Powhatan Point, Ohio, died Wednesday June 30, 2004, at Saint Vincent Medical Center.
He was born February 7, 1945 in Powhatan Point, Ohio, son of the late Arthur, Sr. and Clara Luckett Wiley.
He was a graduate of Powhatan High School in Ohio, Class of 1963 where he was president of the senior class and was selected the "Ohio schoolboy Class A Basketball Player of the Year" in 1963 and that same year led his high school baseball team to a state title.
He graduated from Gannon University on a basketball Scholarship with a bachelor's degree in business administration and later earned his master's degree in urban systems also at Gannon.
In 1969 he was recruited to become GECAC's Executive Director at the age of 24.
He was a Civic leader who helped transform GECAC into a large nonprofit agency.
Under his leadership, the Agency staff totals over 400 people and serves annually over 50, 000 unduplicated clients ranging from pre-schoolers to the frail welfare elderly. He also serves as the CEO of the Greater Erie Economic Development Corporations.
In 1986 Ben was inducted into the Gannon University Basketball Hall of Fame and in received the he received the National Lewis Hine Award, Gannon's Distinguished Pennsylvanian Award, which was designed by the William Penn Society of Gannon University both presented in 1988.
Received the 2000 National John D. Whisman Vision Award designed by the development district Association of Appalachia and most recently awarded the 2002 Liberty Bell Award by the Erie County Bar Association in recognition of community service that has strengthened the American System of Freedom under Law.
He served on the Gannon University Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1993; in 1994 he worked on his friend Tom Ridge's successful campaign for Pennsylvania Governor. In 1995 Ridge appointed him to the Governor's Advisory Commission on African-American Affairs and a longtime member of the Board of Governors for the State System of Higher Education and at the time of his death he was Vice-Chairman of the Board. Most recently, on June 4, 2004 Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy of Technology dedicated its new Academy of Technology in honor of Wiley for "outstanding community and educational leadership".
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a brother, Cornelius Wiley.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara Gavin Wiley, whom he married on November 11, 1983; two sons, Robert Wiley, Jr. and Shelby Wiley, both of Erie; two step-daughters, Vikki Wiley, of Erie and Dena Wiley, of Ocala, Florida; three brothers, Arthur Wiley, Jr. and his wife Kim, of Oklahoma City, John Wiley, Sr. and his wife Dorothy, of Capitol Heights, MD, and Andrew Wiley, Sr., of Temple Hills, MD; four sisters, Elizabeth Wiley, of Powhatan, Point, OH, Thelma Bowles and her husband Destin, of Chicago, IL, Vera Wiley of Temple Hills MD, and Christina M. Wiley also of Temple Hills.
Friends may call at the Univ. Center on the Edinboro University Campus, Tuesday from 2 to 9 p.m. and on Wednesday at the McComb Fieldhouse from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Eugene Schoolfield officiating.
Internment will be in Laurel Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to GECAC, R. Benjamin Wiley Memorial Fund, 18 West 9th Street, Erie, PA 16501
The Burton Funeral Home, 602 West 10th Street, is handling the arrangements.
Bio by: J Rowan
Gravesite Details s/o Arthur and Clara Luckett Wiley Sr.
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