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Bataan Death March survivor dies in Wyoming

Aug. 13, 2014 - 02:43PM   |  
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POWELL, WYO. — Bill White, a Powell resident who survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines during World War II, has died. He was 99.

White died on Friday at his home, the Powell Tribune reported Wednesday.

White served with a U.S. Army mobile radar unit in the Philippines when the unit surrendered to Japanese troops in 1942. Allied prisoners were forced on a brutal 80-mile march during which many died at the hands of their captors.

White spent six months in a prisoner of war camp, worked on airfields and roads, and was sent to the island of Kyushu, Japan, to work in coal mines. He was liberated following the Japanese surrender on Aug. 14, 1945.

He weighed just 80 pounds, and spent a year recovering in a hospital.

White was born in Kingsbury, Indiana, on Feb. 26, 1915. He worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps and as a farmer before joining the Army in 1941.

He married Claribel Habeisen in 1947. In 1949 the couple moved to Ralston Bench near Heart Mountain, Wyoming. They farmed there and moved to Powell in 1990.

In a letter to the Tribune, Pat Miller of the American Legion Hughes-Pittinger Post remembered White for his kindness and patriotism.

“It’s amazing that he could be so happy and content having survived the horrors he lived through and the things he saw,” Miller said. “He could have been bitter from all he endured. But he wasn’t.”

White is survived by sisters Lois W. Nelson and Lacelia Kliss of LaPorte, Indiana, along with nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were to be held Thursday at the United Methodist Church in Powell.

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