William Earl Wharton, 97, Woodstock, died Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, at his home.
He was born Oct. 18, 1917, to James G. and Edith (Katzmark) Wharton in Chester.
On July 8, 1946, he married Dorothy May Stahlberg.
He attended Lane Tech High School, Chicago. After graduation he earned a pilot’s license and joined the U.S. Army for a two-year voluntary service. He was stationed stateside with an artillery unit. Shortly after completing his voluntary service, he was called back to fight in World War II.
He was sent to North Africa with the 36th Infantry Division from Texas, and he flew several reconnaissance missions. With the 36th Infantry Division, he participated in the invasion of Italy through Anzio, Salerno and Cassino. With the unit on the road to Rome, he fought 412 straight days of battle. He also helped to liberate the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria. After the war, he worked for Motorola and then Union Special as a quality-control inspector. He lived a quiet life and was very family-oriented.
Survivors include a son, Timothy Wharton; two daughters, Kathleen (Don) Bennett and Sharon (Al) Emery; 11 grandchildren, Beth Ann, Amanda, Kyle, William Sevcik, Suzanne Robinson, Rachael, Amy, Elise, Linda Kay Harner, Michael Harner and Andrew Emery; as well as several great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; a son, William Wharton; a brother, James Wharton; and a sister, Clarice Owen.
A graveside service was held Nov. 22, 2014, at River Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Dundee.
Arrangements were made by Schneider-Leucht-Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home.