Melvin Lewis Whitaker, 93, died March 23, 2012, at Morris County Hospital in Council Grove. He was born Aug. 25, 1918, outside of Dunlap to John Allen and Mabel Addie (Wolfram) Whitaker.
He graduated from Dunlap Elementary and Dunlap High School. He served as a tank mechanic and halftrack driver in the 5th Armored Division of Patton’s 3rd Army. He saw action in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Purple Heart medal.
He was a farmer, operated a custom farming and trucking company, worked as a mechanic at Fina Service Station in Dunlap, as a bus driver for Dunlap Schools, and at Dolly Madison Bakery in Emporia.
He married Lila Alice Schwindt on Aug. 1, 1958, in Emporia. They were married 36 years until her death in 1994.
Excluding his army service and recent years at Council Grove Assisted Living and Council Grove HealthCare Center, he spent his entire life in Dunlap, including spending time as a city council member, city treasurer, mayor, cemetery board member, and cemetery caretaker, as well as serving with the volunteer fire department. He was a member of the Morris County Hospital Board of Directors and Dunlap United Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and one brother, Kenneth.
He is survived by two sons, Neal Whitaker of Marion and Glen Whitaker of Council Grove; one daughter, Sheryl Ferguson of Reading; one sister, Josephine Slough of Ellinwood; five granddaughters; two grandsons; and one great-granddaughter.
Visitation with the family was Tuesday at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home in Council Grove. A funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at Dunlap United Methodist Church with internment at Dunlap Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dunlap Fire Department and sent in care of Penwell-Gable, PO Box 273, Council Grove, KS 66846.
To leave a message for the family online, visit http://www.penwellgabelcouncilgrove.com.