The Kansas City Aviation Department is saddened to announce that former Mayor Charles B. Wheeler has passed away at 96. Kansas City Downtown Airport was rededicated as Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport on the airport’s 75th anniversary in August 2002. Mayor Wheeler had a long history in aviation, serving as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon and leading the opening of Kansas City International Airport in 1972. He leaves on lasting legacy through his leadership of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, local and state civic activities, and service as a physician to Kansas Citians. He will be missed, but his name lives on in the name of this airport.

Kansas City's current mayor, Quinton Lucas, today issued the following statement following the passing of Charles ‘Charlie’ Wheeler, who himself served the people of Kansas City as mayor from 1971-1979: “I spoke this morning with the family of Charles B. Wheeler, M.D., our former mayor and one of the finest people ever to serve our community, and learned of Mayor Wheeler’s passing at the age of 96. He started his long career in service as a member of the United States Navy and later as a public servant for many years in Kansas City. Mayor Wheeler leaves behind a legacy which will be felt for generations to come, having led Kansas City through the opening of the Kansas City International Airport, Bartle Hall, and Kemper Arena, launching Kansas City into the convention town we know it to be today, and positively raising our community’s national and international profile. He also helped lead Kansas City through its recovery following the devastating floods of 1977. Mayor Wheeler was a statesman all Kansas Citians, Missourians, and Americans could be proud of, who in addition to his service in elective office bravely served our country in the U.S. Navy as a flight surgeon before returning to school to earn his juris doctorate. Since becoming mayor, I have been proud to call him a personal friend and a mentor. He will be missed. Mayor Wheeler leaves behind his daughter Marion and his daughter Nina, whom he was able to spend two beautiful weeks with prior to his passing, and is preceded in death by his sons Gordon, Mark, and Graham, and Kansas City’s former First Lady, his beloved wife Marjorie.