In Memoriam

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George Wheeler ’29

George S. Wheeler ’29, October 18, 1997, at his daughter’s home in Prague, Czech Republic. He had been a resident of Grapeview, Washington, for many years. George married Eleanor Mitchell ’30 after graduation from Reed, and they moved to Chicago, where he became assistant to the head of the economics department at the University of Chicago. In 1935, he went to Washington, D.C., to work for the U.S. government, first with the National Labor Relations Board and then with the Wage and Hour Division. With the onset of World War II, he began to work for the Foreign Economic Administration, and in fall 1944 he went to London to begin work on de-Nazification activities. After the war, he was stationed in Germany and was in charge of the de-Nazification section of the Manpower Division of the Office of Military Government, working on labor policy issues. When his contract was not renewed in 1946, he and his family moved to Czechoslovakia to find work. There, he wrote his first book, American Policy in Germany, 1945–50, and in 1954 was hired by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences as an economist and writer. He earned a PhD from Charles University, Prague, in 1961. George and Eleanor remained in Prague until the Russian takeover in 1968, when they returned to the United States and he took a teaching post in the economics department at Washington State University. After retiring from that institution, George and Eleanor moved to New Hampshire, where George taught at Franconia College until his retirement in 1977. A second book, The Human Face of Socialism: the Political Economy of Change in Czechoslovakia, was published in 1973 and was later published in Italian. In retirement, George and Eleanor settled in Grapeview, Washington, where George remained after his Eleanor's death in 1981. He was active in the Democratic party and enjoyed cooking, sailing, and other activities. He moved to Prague to live with his daughters shortly before his death. He is survived by two sisters, including Helen Wheeler Hastay ’39; a brother, Donald N. Wheeler ’35; 2 sons; 2 daughters; 12 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 1998

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