1938 - 2010
James O. Wheeler, the Merle Prunty, Jr., Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, died at his home in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, December 9, 2010. Born in Muncie, Indiana, on March 7, 1938, he was the son of educators Emerson Franklin Wheeler and Ruby Rachel McCreery Wheeler. He attended Indiana public schools and received his undergraduate degree from Ball State Teachers College (now Ball State University). After teaching English and geography in junior high and high school, he began graduate work at Indiana University, where he was awarded the M.A. in 1963 and the Ph.D. in 1966.
Wheeler’s early teaching career at the college level included positions at Indiana University (Gary), Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan State University. In 1971, he joined the faculty of the University of Georgia’s Department of Geography, where he served as department head from 1975 to 1983. He advised graduate students and taught until his retirement in 1999, and his active professional life of writing and research continued until his death.
Wheeler served as head of two divisions of the Association of American Geographers, first as chair of the East Lakes Division and later as president of the Southeastern Division. He published numerous research articles and authored two widely used textbooks, Economic Geography and Urban Geography. He was a founding editor of the journal Urban Geography, which he co-edited from 1980 to 2003. In addition, from 1992 to 2003 he served as editor of the Southeastern Geographer.
Wheeler was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and received the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia, Honors from the Association of American Geographers, and the Southeastern Division of the AAG’s (SEDAAG) Research Award, Outstanding Service Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
James O. Wheeler (Necrology). 2011. AAG Newsletter 46(2): 45.