William Edward Whitaker

Major William E. Whitaker, USAF (Ret.) died at his home in Torrance, CA on 1 February, 2005, after a brief battle with cancer.  He was 72 years old. Bill was born on 9 March 1932 in Fryeburg, Maine and attended Fryeburg Academy, graduating in 1950.  He enlisted in the Navy, spent a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School before entering the Naval Academy as a dedicated member of the 24th company.  Upon graduation, Bill was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, earning flight examiner and flight instructor ratings, and eventually becoming a project engineer on several classified military space programs.  Bill’s space program work and his 141 combat missions in Vietnam were the highlights of his successful Air Force career.  The Distinguished Flying Cross and eleven Air Medals are among his many awards.


Bill married Bonnie Mae Jansen of Houston, Texas on 1 June 1957, exactly one year after graduation from the Naval Academy.  After retiring in 1977, Bill enjoyed a second career in the aerospace industry until 1993, working for Garrett, Hughes and Allied Signal (now Honeywell), managing several contracts for prime hardware for the three military services, as well as for several free-world countries.  Bill belonged to the Masons, enjoyed golf, camping, and was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.


Bill was predeceased by an infant son, David Dalton.  He is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie Mae, and sons Ronald Edward and James Allen Whitaker.