Whitehead, Milton J. Jr.
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died on March 21, 2014 in Phoenix AZ. He was 94 years old. Milt died peacefully at home with many family members present. Milt was born in New York City in 1919 to Milton J. Whitehead and Mildred Gilliland Whitehead. The family moved to Dallas, Texas, shortly thereafter, where he attended elementary school and graduated from Dallas Technical High School in June, 1937. He went to work for the Southwestern Drug Corporation in Dallas the following month, serving as an assistant to the bookkeeper. As his skills in this area increased, he advanced in the company over the next three and a half years. On Valentine's Day, 1941, he enlisted in the United States Ar
my in Dallas and was assigned to Fort Bowie in Brownwood, Texas. During the next 15 months, as our country entered World War II, he was assigned to March Field and the Presidio in California. He quickly advanced in rank to Technical Sergeant. Milt's commanders sent him to Officers Candidate School in Miami Beach, Fl., where he received his commission and wings as a Second Lieutenant in September 1941. He then went to England where he flew p38's accompanying the B17 bombers as they flew over Germany- Missions completed. Milt served in the European Theater, coordinating the movement of Allied aircraft for tactical missions. He participated in the Normandy Invasion and worked with the French resistance movement. He was awarded numerous medals and commendations from the Air Force, as well as from the French and Belgium governments for his wartime service. Milt returned to France in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. After the war, he moved to Seattle, Wash., to accept an appointment with the National Bank of Commerce. While working at the bank, he continued his education at Seattle University, receiving his degree in Commercial Science. Both of these endeavors were interrupted in April 1951, when Milt was recalled to active duty with the United States Air Force during the Korean War. For the next two years he served at Paine Field and McCord Air Force Base in the Seattle area. Upon his release from active duty, Lieutenant Colonel Whitehead continued his career in banking in Seattle. In 1958, he relocated to Phoenix, AZ to accept employment with Valley National Bank as a loan officer. Milt remained with the bank for several years, ultimately succumbing to a desire to return to college and attain his Arizona teaching certification. He taught school for many years, first in the Roosevelt School District, advancing to the position of Assistant Principal; he then moved to the Cave Creek School District and taught for several more years before retiring in 1981. He remained in contact with many of his former students who today, still have fond memories of him. For more than 50 years, Milt enjoyed traveling throughout the world, but his favorite spot remained Rocky Point, Mexico. He is best remembered for his remarkable kindness to all who were a part of his life. Milt is survived by his wife of 53 years, LaRae; four sons, Jim (Barbara), Ford (Marni), Roy Gardner (Lauri), and David; and one daughter, Gretchen (Tom). He had ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, William Whitehead and sister, Olive Ruth Hogan, as well as several nieces and nephews and countless devoted friends. Services are private and in lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the 100 Club, Sun Sounds or Salvation Army.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Mar. 26 to Mar. 30, 2014