Interview with Pete Wheeler, June 14, 2006

Collection: Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection

Dublin Core


A Conversation with Pete Wheeler is a discussion, with Dr. William Stueck and Dr. James Cobb, of Wheeler's long career as Georgia's Commissioner of Veterans Services. Wheeler discusses his early life, attending Emory at Oxford and the University of Georgia, and his work with the Office of Price Administration after getting out of the service after World War II. Wheeler discusses the importance of the Department of Veterans Services and explains the duties of the Commissioner of Veteran Affairs. He mentions a specific project he undertook to identify all the Veterans in the former state mental hospital, Central State Hospital, in Milledgeville and to provide the services these veterans are entitled to. Wheeler also discusses his work with veterans from other wars such as the Spanish-American War and the widows of soldiers who had fought in the American Civil War. He explains his wife's experience during World War II and the employment of the rest of his family during the war. Wheeler recalls the desegregation of the veteran's home in Milledgeville and the importance of the Veteran's Administration. Wheeler also comments on his relationships with Senator Russell, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller, and Joe Frank Harris.

Peter Wheeler was born in Crawford, Georgia on October 19, 1922. He attended the University of Georgia, where he majored in education, and was called to active duty in the army upon his graduation in 1943. He was discharged from the army in 1946, and attended the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta at night, while working for the Federal Office of Price Administration. In 1949 he was named Commissioner of Veterans Services in the Herman Talmadge administration, an office he has held for 14 terms under eleven governors. Mr. Wheeler was president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs in 1964 to 1965, has served on the National Veterans Day Committee, and was Chairman of the National World War II Memorial Advisory Board from 1994 to 2004.






Oral History Item Type Metadata



105 minutes


Pete Wheeler, William Stueck, and James Cobb, “Interview with Pete Wheeler, June 14, 2006,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed February 26, 2024,