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January 28, 1918 - April 26, 2013 NORMAN TAPS sounded on April 26, 2013, for Colonel (Retired) Woodrow W. Wiltse. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in the Primrose Chapel, 1109 N. Porter Ave., Norman, Oklahoma 73071. He was a forty-year resident of Norman, who was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on January 28, 1918. After graduating from Fordson High School in 1936, he put himself through Michigan State University, graduating in December 1942 with a degree in Police Administration. He then attended and graduated from Field Artillery Officer Candidate School in April 1943. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and deployed to England, where he participated in the Normandy invasion in June of 1944. While there, he participated in all five major campaigns, earning a Silver Star, the Bronze Star with three clusters, and the Purple Heart. He served with distinction until he returned to the U.S. in 1945. Recalled to active duty in 1950, he was posted to various assignments around the world, including serving as the Assistant Army Attache in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, 1959-1960. Colonel Wiltse was the Professor of Military Science at the University of Oklahoma, 1965-1969. While there, during that turbulent time in our history, he counseled a great number of young men as students and maintained innumerable contacts throughout his life. He retired from active duty in March 1973. On March 28, 2013, Colonel Wiltse was awarded the Legion of Honor from the Government of France for his distinguished service during World War II. He and his wife of fifty-three years, Jeannette Elliott Wiltse, were active citizens in the Norman community. They were involved with several civic organizations, including: Reading for the Blind, The Norman Chamber of Commerce, The Norman Ambassadors, and The Retired Officers Associations. His beloved wife died in 1995. He is survived by his sons: Elliott Wiltse, of Charleston, West Virginia; and Christopher Wiltse (Emily), of Memphis, Tennessee; two grandchildren: Patrick Wiltse, of Austin, Texas; and Allyson Wiltse, of Memphis, Tennessee; two step-grandchildren: Rob Routon, of Jackson, Tennessee; and Emily Routon, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While in Saigon, Vietnam, the Wiltses were foster parents to Dick Ong and brought him to the United States, where he lived with them until he graduated from high school in 1967. Dick now resides in San Francisco, California, with his wife. Gifts and donations can be directed to Colonel Woodrow Wiltse Scholarship Foundation at the University of Oklahoma. Services are under the direction of Primrose Funeral Service. To leave condolences or to watch a memorial tribute for Colonel Woodrow Wiltse, please visit www.primrosefuneralservice.com www.primrosefuneralservice.com
Published in The Oklahoman on Apr. 30, 2013
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