Commentary

MILAM HISTORY

Oleta Wise ‘never saw a bad boy at school’

This is the latest in a series on Milam County women.

O leta Modesette was born in 1908 in the Tracy community to John and Stella Modesette. The family moved to Cameron when she was 13.

Oleta said she always knew her calling in life was teaching.

She taught one year of school at Hanover before stopping to marry I.V. ( Vel) Wise. Four children were born to this union and after they were grown, she picked up where she had left off in the teaching profession.

Oleta had one year of college at Tarleton State and with that she obtained an emergency certificate.

She continued to attend college at Southwest Texas State and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, during the summers.

She received her bachelors degree in 1957, while she balanced her roles as mother, wife and churchwoman.

At Milano, she taught first grade for a couple of years; but advanced to second grade where she served out her tenure of 30 years.

She marveled that she never had a bad boy in school. Some were mischievous and full of life but never a bad one, She had a way with students, letting them know that she knew they had the capability to learn.

She taught a couple of generations within a family, having taught the parents and some of their children. Teaching rubbed off on her children, as three were valedictorians and one a salutatorian at Milano.

After her husband died in 1973, she decided to retire from teaching. She thought of her students as “almost family.”

Oleta was always involved in the Liberty United Methodist Church.

In 2000 she was named Woman of the Year by Texas Annual Conference for keeping her church open during times when attendance dropped.

She was recognized by Yoe Foundat ion for her lifet ime accomplishments.

Oleta had beautiful penmanship. She remembered her relatives by writing letters, which has become a lost art.

In her retirement, Oleta loved playing dominoes and especially 42. If you were lucky, you would draw her as a partner.

As she attained birthdays heading toward the 100 mark, she reluctantly moved in with her daughter and husband. She lived to be over 100 years and is buried by her husband at Liberty.

Oleta’s faith, her family and love and concern for mankind was her recipe for life.


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