88-year-old WWII vet from Oregon dies on Honor Flight


by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff


Posted on October 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 6:24 AM

PORTLAND – The applause was deafening and tears were flowing at PDX after 50 World War II veterans got off an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

Sadly, one of the vets died on the trip before he could visit the National World War II Memorial.

The honor flight organizer, Gayle Yakopatz, said an 88-year-old Army veteran from Yamhill County passed away on Friday, just before landing in Chicago where they switched planes.

His wife was on the plane with the vet whose name has not been released.

"It was just a pity he couldn't get all the way to D.C.," said Navy veteran Ben Asquitch.

Marine veteran Bob Pattock had dinner with the man who died right before they left Portland.

"As we were landing in Chicago he came out of the bathroom and he did a spiral and laid on the floor and he was gone," said Pattock.

He said the man's family wanted the group to continue on so the rest of the veterans could experience the Honor Flight.

"He knew he was taking a chance, but he wanted to make the trip anyway," said Veteran Edward Killeen from Salem.