In Memoriam: Peter Conaty

Pete at California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2016

On behalf of everyone at AMVETS Department of California we offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Peter Conaty for their loss, and endless admiration for Peter’s tireless advocacy on behalf of all veterans.

Over his 82 years, Pete lived a fascinating life, including several distinguished careers. He was born in Sacramento on November 26,1939 and raised in Newport Beach. He attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and earned a bachelor’s in history from CSU Fullerton.

Serving the military was a central part of Pete’s life. He served 21 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1986. Pete was a graduate of the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2016. As a member of the famed 101st Airborne Division, Pete served two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart for wounds received in his first tour. He also served as an Army Ranger and military intelligence officer, receiving many medals and awards, including three Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, and an Army Commendation Medal.

Pete joined the California State Assembly as a Legislative Aide in 1986 and spent the next decade in a variety of roles. In 1996, Pete founded and operated an independent lobbying firm representing a wide range of clients, including veterans organizations. During these years, Pete was recognized with many awards, including the CA Department of Veterans Affairs Annual Secretary’s Award on two occasions.

After moving on from lobbying in 2018 and until his passing, Pete continued tirelessly advocating for veterans as a consultant. Professionally, Pete was most proud of establishing a prison diversion program for military and veterans in trouble with the law due to PTSD. Personally, he was devoted to his family and doted on his four grandchildren.