Carleen Anne Henkelmann Chalmers Wymer

1929 -

Carleen Chalmers Wymer, an accomplished pianist and organist, taught for over forty years at two colleges and five academies in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system. She was known for her thoroughness as a teacher and ability to inspire her students, several having had successful careers as pianists and organists.

Carleen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the oldest of three children born to Carl and Ruth Ophelia Miner Henkelmann. At age four, she became fascinated with the piano after hearing the girls next door play it. She started lessons a year later and quickly demonstrated an aptitude for music and rapid progress as she studied with several good teachers.

When she was a sophomore in high school, she became a student of Beth Miller, an acclaimed teacher with a statewide reputation for excellence. In the summers, Miller ran a well-known music camp, Rocky Ridge Music Center, an intensive and comprehensive six-week experience, which Carleen attended for three summers.

She completed her last two years of high school at Union College Academy, now College View Academy. After graduating in 1947, she enrolled at La Sierra College, now University, where she studied for a year before returning to Lincoln for study at UC. Following a year at UC, where she studied piano under Charles Watson and organ with Florence Able, wife of Harlan Able, college choir director, she returned to La Sierra College in 1949 and completed a music degree there in 1951.

She and her fiancÚ, Moses Chalmers, also a singer and music major, were the first two persons to complete a newly created B.M.E. degree. They married following graduation and that fall started their teaching careers at Monterey Bay Academy. She taught piano and organ; and he directed the choir, taught voice, and eventually chaired the music department. The Chalmers had two children during this time, Moses III and Marcia.

Their success at MBA led to an invitation in 1960 for him to teach at La Sierra College and her to teach piano and organ at nearby La Sierra Academy. She also briefly assisted Harold Hannum, organ teacher at the college, in teaching organ lessons.

In 1972 the Chalmers accepted positions at Milo Adventist Academy in southern Oregon. They were popular teachers at Milo, where they were noted for their creative music presentations and concern for the students. They opened their home to the students and were sponsors for the 1977 senior class.

They left MAA in 1978 so that Carleen could pursue a master's degree in music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she had a graduate assistantship and also taught piano in the music program at Union College. Following completion of an M.Mus. in 1980, with organ as her performance area, they accepted music positions at Platte Valley Academy in Nebraska, where they taught for two years. In 1982, they returned to the West Coast to teach at San Gabriel Academy for a year, following which she taught at Mesa Grande Academy.

They returned to Lincoln in 1989, where Carleen taught at Union College for the next five years. They were residing there at the time of Moses' death.

Three years later, Carleen married Harold Wymer, a widower. They presently reside in Calimesa, California, where she continues to play organ for services in area churches.


Sources: Interview with Carleen Henkelmann Chalmers Wymer, September 2009; Online sources, personal knowledge.