Diane was born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. As the daughter of a Command Sergeant Major in the Army’s Special Forces, she developed a deep love of country and a desire to serve. When her father was transferred to Fort Bragg, she attended 71st High School in Fayetteville. After graduation, she earned an Associate Degree in Nursing at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
As a registered nurse, Diane worked at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Orange Memorial Hospital, and the Fayetteville Children’s Clinic. She later served on the Cape Fear Valley Hospital Board of Directors.
In 1973, Diane married Al Wheatley of Fayetteville. The couple worked in government-contract work for over 30 years. Specializing in transportation operations on military bases in the southeast, their company earned recognition as one of the top five local contractors for quality and efficiency.
Diane and Al have raised three wonderful children --- Arleen, Brian, and David. Diane went from being an active “PTA mom” to successfully running for the County Board of Education in 1994, earning the most votes of any “at large” candidate. During her first term, she was elected by her fellow board members as Chair. The next year, as Chair of the Facilities Committee, she oversaw the construction of 10 new schools in Cumberland County, all of which were finished on time and under budget.
Diane was re-elected to a second term in 1998 and a third term in 2002, each time leading the ticket.
In 2004 she was elected as a county commissioner, leading the ticket in her three-member district.