Wheatley takes over after loss of Lewis

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Terry Wheatley, at left, takes the oath of office for register of wills from Clerk of Court Amy Craig. At the bench are Chief Judge Calvin Travers (partially obscured) and Judge Carolyn Todd. Judge George Ames was also present.

CAMBRIDGE — On Nov. 10, Chief Judge of Orphan’s Court Calvin Travers, with Associate Judges Carolyn Todd and George Ames, signed an order appointing Teresa D. Wheatley as register of wills for Dorchester County. Ms. Wheatley, who served as chief deputy for many years, takes over after the death earlier this month of Doris Lewis. Clerk of Court Amy Craig administered the oath of office as Ms. Wheatley’s family looked on.

The event was part of the legal process when the occupant of the office dies during her term. A new register is appointed by judges until the next election.

“The judges are very lucky to have someone like Terry Wheatley to take over as register of wills for Dorchester County,” Judge Travers said.
“I have every confidence that she will do a good job,” Judge Ames said.
Ms. Craig said she knew Ms. Wheatley would be “keeping the love we had with Doris alive and well.”

Ms. Wheatley brings decades of experience to the Office of Register of Wills. At the age of 17, she went to work in the Law Office of Frederick C. Malkus as a legal secretary and administrative assistant in Annapolis.
She served 13 years in Annapolis during the General Assembly from 1973 to 1986, when she stayed in Dorchester County after the death of Betty G. Pepper. After more than 23 years with Mr. Malkus, she went to work for the law firm of Wilson & Collison (now Judge Brett W. Wilson and Robert S. Collison) for three years, with an emphasis in probate work.

In 1999, Mrs. Wheatley joined the Office of Register of Wills as deputy under Ms. Lewis, another one of her mentors, replacing Betty Lou Reid-Pridgen, who retired. In 2012, she became chief deputy upon the retirement of Donna L. Hooper, and held that position until her appointment on Nov. 10.
“Ms. Wheatley will continue with the integrity and compassion that she experienced under the direction of the late Ms. Lewis,” a statement from the office said. “She knows that she will have big shoes to fill, but with the help of Deputy Roxanne B. Snelling, the office will continue to operate fully. Ms. Wheatley will work closely with the judges of the Orphan’s Court and the legal community.”
An emotional Ms. Wheatley, still mourning the loss of her friend and mentor, said she was grateful for the support that has come to the office following the loss of Ms. Lewis. “The legal community has been wonderful to us,” she said.

Ms. Wheatley was joined at the swearing-in ceremony by her husband Rick; her five sons, Eric (Megan), Adam, BJ (Samantha), Kyle (Leigh) and Devin (Meghan). She is the proud grandmother of five: Natalie, Blake, Landon, Greyson and Audrey.
Ms. Wheatley’s mother Shirley Dayton was unable to attend due to health reasons. Helen Lewis Peele, the daughter of Doris Lewis, was also present, along with Ms. Snelling.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the print version of this article, Judge Todd’s first name is incorrect. The Banner regrets the error.