Obituary: John E Whitaker
Graveside inurnment with Osage American Legion Honor Guard for John E Whitaker will be held Friday, February 26th, 2021, 11 am at Osage Cemetery. John died Tuesday, February 22, 2021 at his home in Osage.
John was born April 18, 1921 in Osage, the son of Jay and Helen Whitaker. John was a lifelong resident of Osage, graduating from Osage High School in 1938. He was united in marriage to Eileen K. Krogstad on May 26, 1943. In 1939, John went to work for Davidson Gas and Electric. John entered the service in 1943. John was assigned to the Army Air Force First Air Commando Group in Asansol, India. John flew a Stinson LD, a light, unarmed aircraft which he named for his wife Eileen calling it Mrs. Whit. John flew missions into Burma where he flew supplies in and flew casualties out. John remarked in an article for the Waterloo Courier, “We were probably the only ones to fly an unarmed plane. We got shot at, but we couldn’t shoot back. My plane was full of bullet holes, so I put some glue in the holes and covered them with pink tape.” John was a terrific writer, putting words to his experiences and sharing those of others who served with him in WWII. Of his service, John said, “It was something we had to do, so we did it. A lot of good people lost their lives in that war.” After the service, John returned home and resumed work with Davidson, retiring from Standard Oil Co. in 1978.
Our family and anyone who knew John was lucky to listen to stories of his life. He told a great story and had a great sense of humor. Although John and Eileen didn’t have any children of their own, they had 3 California nieces and 3 Iowa nieces. We cherish the memories of time spent with John and Eileen, the experiences they gave us riding his horse, flying in his plane and letting one niece drive the riding lawn mower just missing a tree. We loved him so much and will miss him dearly.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Eileen; his parents Jay and Helen; and his niece Peggy Harris. John is survived by his nieces Dell Abben, Karen Moore, Jill Schaaban, Colette Harp and Randi Johnston.
Champion Funeral Home, Osage, 641-732-3706, www.schroederfuneralhomes.com