, NV — World War II Veteran and former prisoner of war Dean Whitaker, passed away at the age of 97 on July 14. Whitaker was very active in POW/MIA Day Remembrance ceremonies at Nellis AFB. In 2019, he was awarded the The Legion d’Honneur - France’s highest award for his service during World War II.
The Southern Nevada community lost World War II Veteran and former prisoner of war Dean Whitaker, who passed away at the age of 97 July 14. Whitaker was very active in the community sharing his experience and was a regular participant in annual POW/MIA Day Remembrance ceremonies at Nellis Air Force Base (even throughout the pandemic). In 2019, he was awarded the The Legion d’Honneur - France’s highest award, conferred upon men and women for outstanding achievements in military or civilian life for his service during World War II.
Born in Los Angeles, Whitaker enlisted as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and attended gunnery training at Las Vegas Army Airfield, better known today as Nellis Air Force Base. He was assigned to Eighth Air Force and flew 20 missions over Europe in a B-17 Flying Fortress from Royal Air Force Base Nuthampstead in England. He earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained on his first mission, and his 20th and final mission ended when his plane was shot down over Merseburg, Germany. Whitaker was taken prisoner and survived seven months in a POW camp before liberation by the U.S. Third Army under the command of Gen. George S. Patton in 1945. Following the war, Whitaker returned to California where he worked as a school teacher, a firefighter, and an architect, building homes throughout Laguna Beach. He moved to Las Vegas soon after retirement.
Funeral Services will be held Friday, July 29 starting at 11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 9270 S. Maryland Parkway Las Vegas, NV 89123. A graveside is at will be held at 1 p.m. at Palm Eastern Mortuary 7600 S. Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, NV 88123. A celebration of life will follow at 2 p.m. back at the LDS chapel on Maryland Parkway. Those who are unable to attend may view the services online t the following links:
11 a.m. Chapel Service:
Chapel Service Zoom
1 p.m. Graveside Service:
1 p.m. graveside service Facebook at Boulder City Family Mortuary
For those interested in learning more about Mr. Whitaker, here are a few stories that were completed in recent years:
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System: WWII veterans awarded French Legion d’Honneur Medal
KTNV-TV: Veteran's Voice: Former prisoner of war remembers love of his life, shares favorite hobbies
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System: In His Own Words: Dean Whitaker Story (YouTube Video)