How I remember him best. Cheerful Anniversary picture with Mom 1978 in Machu Pichu Peru. Mom and Dad came down to South America to pick me up from my Mission Dressing up for a costume party in his Dress Blues Dad built a shopping center in Orange. Made him a small fortune and a photo 0pp with Miss Orange. 1978 Dad coached me in little league. Dad on the right. I'm the first kid on the left, back row. For many years we made an annual guys trip to Strawberry Lake in Utah. Me and Dad in Springfield Virginia 1957 or 58 In 1948 Dad bought a Piper Super Cruiser and he and mom flew from Cherry Point NC to Anchorage Alaska. Mom didn't like the trip so much so for the trip home they sold the plane and bought commercial airline tickets. Dad was in the Marine Corps first fighter jet squadron 1950s Dad and his twin sister Louise. 1926 age four Dad and Louise age six 1928 This picture was taken in WWII somewhere in the Pacific Theator He flew Corsairs. Wedding reception picture Dec 30, 1946, East Garland UT Wedding reception in Los Angeles in his Dad's and Aunt Maime's home 1947 Living the high life in Washington DC. Dad worked in the Pentagon.
Father's Day always makes me miss my Dad, so today's blog is dedicated to him.
Dad grew up in a small farming community in Southern Utah called Kanosh. His parents divorced when he was six and he split his time with his mom in Kanosh and his dad in Salt Lake. His Dad had a milk route that he helped on. In High School he played in the band and was on the wrestling team. In College he went on to be the State Champ in his category. He also played in a dance band and played the bass fiddle and tuba. When WWII broke out he was working as a carpenter in Delta Utah building concentration camps for the Japanese. He originally enlisted in the Navy but ended up in the Marines as an aviator. He flew dive bombing missions in various battles in the South Pacific. He had an occasion to fly with Charles Lindburgh once and Pappi Boington on another occasion.
After WWII he married my mom, Darlene Grover. He stayed in the Marine Corp and served in the Korean War. He was in the Marine Corps first jet squadron and also flew in the Marine Corps first demonstration team. (Precursor to the Blue Angles). After Korea he collapsed a lung in a high G turn in a jet and was reassigned to fly transports. He flew between Los Angeles and Okinawa Japan. My mom and I spent one of his tours with him in Okinawa. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1963 and started working in the commercial real estate business with Mr. Harry Martin. In 1978 he started his own real estate business and developed some property in Orange and Riverside. I didn't see him much for the first six years of my life. Once my Dad retired from the Marine Corps he was very involved in my life. We did little league baseball together. We took fishing trips. We did Indian Guides with the YMCA together. While in the Indian Guides we made an authentic Tee Pee and I giant kite. The kite was so big, it took 4 grown men to fly it. He was my Webaloes leader in scouts. He played the piano (most Whitakers do) and he supervised my piano lessons. Most of our family vacations were to visit relatives in Utah. But we'd sneak away just the two of us and go fishing. We built a shed together. I learned how to pound nails but was never very good at the carpenter thing. Then we built a screened in patio. Then we enclosed the patio. I never did get good at the carpenter thing. We experimented with a Hydroponic Gardening System ( growing plants in water). It never did work, but we sure worked hard at it.
He served in three bishoprics. I remember the bishop sayings once while dad was the executive secretary. "If Jim Whitaker says it will be done, you can count on that". He served as a counselor to Bishop Howard Barlow and Bishop Don Eggers. He had a great sense of humor. There was one time when one of the sisters was up in arms because one of the young women had wore a mini skirt to church. Rather than letting the situation escalate, dad said "oh good, lets all go look." Everyone laughed and the situation was defused. He served on the Stake High Counsel for two Stake Presidents and the The Physical Facilities Representative for the church for 11 years. That is probably some kind of church record in that calling.
He never really did retire. He always had some project or another going on. He liked to build things. Dad was always very supportive to me in anything I wanted to try. I always enjoyed being able to talk to him as I was starting my business. I wish he was still around to talk to.