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World War II Veteran, former POW Dean Whitaker passes away at age 97

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Dean Whitaker is a World War II veteran, who earned a purple heart.
Posted at 12:56 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 20:18:21-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Dean Whitaker, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war, passed away Thursday night, according to his caretaker.

Whitaker spent much of his life sharing stories of his time at war as well as stories of the men he fought alongside, some of which he shared on Veteran’s Voice.

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Whitaker flew 20 missions over Europe as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps. His service began and ended with acts of immense bravery, earning a purple heart on his first mission and getting shot out of the sky on his last.

On his final mission, he and his crew were gunned down over Germany. Most of his crew was killed while parachuting down and Whitaker was taken as a Prisoner of War, where he would remain for the next several months.

"They shot at me all the way down, bullets were whizzing by me. So, when I got to the ground I knew I was going to be shot," Whitaker told Channel 13. "I don't like to talk about as much. I was blessed to stay alive.”

Whitaker says hope and gratitude are what got him through those tough times, as well as drawing blueprints of houses for his fellow POWs.

Whitaker lived many lives after his service. He'd spent time as an architect, a teacher, and a real estate agent.

He said his late wife of 72 years had always encouraged him to perfect his painting, a hobby he had picked up after the war. His method of perfecting it involved following Bob Ross tutorials and covering their house with his art.

Whitaker was 97 when he passed away.

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