Born July 29, 1925, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to
Sidney and Alva Maynard
Whitaker, Fred passed away on June 22, 2021, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, CA.
Fred always described his childhood growing up in
Somerville, Massachusetts, and
Hamilton, Ohio, with idyllic
stories. His father Sidney
Whitaker, a veteran of World War I was very involved in civic leadership on the vestry of their church, the Elks, the Masons, and the American Legion. The family was proud of its heritage going back to the founding of Massachusetts and service from the Revolution to the Civil War, and World War I. It was this legacy of service that Fred followed his entire life and
later instilled in his own sons.
When World War II arrived, duty called, and Fred volunteered as a 17-year-old, asking his parents to sign the permission form, being underage. Immediately after high school graduation in 1943 and still not 18, the Army shipped him to
Engineering school at Stanford University. As the war heated up, they needed more infantry and Fred volunteered, but those credits allowed him automatic admission later to
Stanford after the war.
Assigned to the 87th Infantry Division of Patton's 3rd Army, Fred trained at Fort Benning Georgia then travelled to
England on the Queen Elizabeth. The 87th was inserted into Europe during the campaign for the Saar Valley in late 1944, they then went on to the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) where Fred was wounded on Christmas Day 1944, the
campaign for the Rhineland, and finally the Campaign for Central Europe cutting through the heart of Germany, ending with the liberation of the Death Camp at Buchenwald.
Fred's military decorations include the Distinguished Unit Citation (formerly Presidential Unit Citation) for the nighttime crossing of the Rhine under fire, the Bronze Star with V,
Purple Heart, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and the French Legion of Honor.
After the war, Fred sought adventure, canoeing in Canada for several months, working in Alaska, and hitchhiking across America twice. He started his own business in Glendale, CA then returned to Stanford University in 1950 before the GI Bill ran out. Graduating from Stanford in 1953 with honors, he began a 68-year career as a life, health and disability insurance broker with active clients until the day he passed away.
In the 1950s he was the National President of Episcopal Young Laymen, and being transferred to Los Angeles in 1957 by
Travelers, he met the President of the Christopher's Group at All Saint's Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills Jane Manning. They were married on December 31, 1960, and remained
married until her passing in 2007.
Fred and Jane had two sons, Fred and Charles, establishing a life of service for over 33 years in Glendale, CA. In addition to Jane's public service in community groups and 16 years as an elected member of the Glendale School Board, Fred served in many places of community leadership. He served 17 years on the Republican Party Central Committee with 3 different terms as Chairman. He was on the Committee of 100. He was also a Sunday School Teacher at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Glendale, Chief of his sons' Indian Guides tribe, President of the Fellowship Club at St. Mark's, and President of the
President's Advisory Council in Glendale.
Although he was a member of the 87th Infantry Division Association for many years, it was Saving Private Ryan and Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation that inspired Fred to become even more active as a veteran. Shortly
thereafter, he became Commander of the American Legion Post 127 in Glendale, National Commander of the 87th
Infantry Association, Commander of the LA Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, and after moving to
Orange County in 2002 to be closer to family - Treasurer of the Freedom Committee of Orange County. It is the latter where he dedicated almost 20 years to speaking to school
children in the 5th, 8th and 11th grades all over Orange
County and the Inland Empire about his war experiences. He translated that ethic of service and doing hard things to life lessons for students. His vivid storytelling and analogies to everyday life made him one of the most sought-after speakers.
After Jane's death in 2007, Fred married Arlene Springe of Villa Park, CA, in 2009, and was married until her death in 2020. They enjoyed traveling together. Fred is survived by his son's Fred and Charles, daughter-in-law Mignon, and his three adult grandchildren Jayne, Anne, and Jack.
Burial will be private. A memorial service with military honors will be held on August 14, 2021, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Orange.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his memory to the charities he chose to recognize in his
estate, your choice of the Freedom Committee of Orange County, The Community Foundation of the Verdugos, or
Trinity Episcopal Church of Orange.