The following is a a brief biography of my grandfather. Below the Biography are links to several stories he had written about battles he was a part of in World War II.
Walter “Wally” Drew (Deptula)
Born in Newark, NJ July 10, 1923 to Walter & Marie Deptula, Wally passed away peacefully on Feb. 28, 2009 at Aegis of Kirkland from complications of Alzheimer’s. Wally joined the Navy in 1941 while in high school. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he served with distinction and bravery aboard the USS Essex as a Rear Turret Gunman in a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. His many awards and commendations include the Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal with a ‘V’ for Valor, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars, and the 2nd highest military honor awarded: the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1945, Wally married the love of his life, Joan Brandt, and raised five children while serving at Naval Stations in Washington, Japan, Texas, and California. His heroism and many accomplishments moved him quickly thru the ranks, retiring in Aug 1960 as an ADC E7 Chief Petty Officer.
Upon retirement, Wally began a career as a salesman. In 1961, the family moved to Bellevue WA where a sixth child was born. Wally soon found a sales job in the machine tool industry in Seattle where he excelled and was highly respected. In 1976, he and Joan started their own industrial tool distributorship, Precise Tool & Gage, which Wally eventually gave to his son, Steve, and it continues on to this day. Tragically, in April 1977, Joan was killed in a car accident, an incident from which Wally never fully recovered. He spent the last five years under the excellent, loving care of Aegis Sr Living of Kirkland.
Preceded in death by his wife and parents, survivors include brother Robert Deptula of Florida, son Steve Drew of Snohomish, daughters Laurie Drew of Vancouver WA, Susan Coson of Yakima, Janet Drew of San Francisco, Debra Shaw (Tim) of Bellevue, Kathy Drew of Federal Way, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren; his friend and Squadron mate Herbert ‘Andy’ Anderson of Seattle who was the Radioman in the Avenger they flew in WWII; his long-time friend Cliff Lucas of CA, and countless nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and business associates. Services were held at 1:30 PM, March 11, at Sunset Hills Funeral Home and Memorial Park,1215 145th Pl SE, Bellevue, WA 425-746-1400.
Stories of my Grandfather…
- Marcus Island Strike (Aug 30 – Aug 31, 1943)
- Wake Island Strike (Oct 5 – Oct 6, 1943)
- Armistice Day over Rabaul (Nov 11, 1943)
- Kwajalein Island Strike (Dec 4, 1943)
- Marshall Islands Invasion (Jan 29 – Feb 4, 1944)
- Truk Island Strike (Feb 16 – Feb 17, 1944)
- Mariana Islands Strikes (Feb 22, 1944)