Nettie Lokey Wiley
Nettie Lokey was born in Lancaster County, at the lower end of Virginia’s Northern Neck, in 1898. She was the fifth of eight children. After attending school in White Stone and Irvington, she enrolled at Fredericksburg State Normal School (now the University of Mary Washington), where a dynamic female instructor inspired her to pursue a career in teaching young children. Nettie went on to earn her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees at Teachers College of Columbia University and to teach at the nursery and elementary school level for 43 years.
While at Columbia, she met Charles L. “Bud” Wiley in history class. After they married in 1925, the couple moved to New York City. Nettie taught in the Manhasset School System on Long Island until she and Bud retired to the Northern Neck in 1963.
Nettie and Bud lived modestly during their 56-year marriage. Nettie was aware that Bud’s childhood friend and broker had directed the investment of Bud’s share of his parents’ estate, but it wasn’t until Bud’s sudden death in 1981 that she began to focus on the opportunities that might benefit from these investments.
At the age of 82, she created the Nettie Lokey Wiley and Charles L. Wiley Foundation “to assist in every way in educating young children in Lancaster County,” ensuring her life’s work in early childhood education and development would continue for generations to come.
Charles L. Wiley
Charles L. Wiley was born into a prominent, upper middle class family in Oswego, New York in 1901. He met Nettie Wiley at Teachers College of Columbia University, where he majored in fine arts. They were married at Irvington Baptist Church on December 26, 1925 and made their home in New York City.
Bud, as Charles Wiley came to be known, never did teach school. Instead, he became an engineer, a licensed pilot, and a naval officer. When he and Nettie returned to her native Northern Neck after retirement in 1963, he lent his considerable talents to many social and charitable organizations. The Foundation for Historic Christ Church honored him in 1979 with a special resolution in recognition of his 20 years of service as a volunteer photographer and 10 years as a director.
Bud died suddenly in March 1981. Through his estate, he endowed several organizations, including the Foundation for Historic Christ Church and The College of William & Mary. And he sufficiently provided for Nettie’s needs, putting her in a position to form the foundation that perpetuates her life’s work for the benefit of young children in Lancaster County.