Colonel (retired) Woodrow W. Wiltse

January 28, 1918April 26, 2013

TAPS sounded on April 26, 2013 for Colonel (retired) Woodrow W. Wiltse. A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 in the Primrose Chapel, 1109 N. Porter Ave., Norman, Oklahoma 73071. He was a forty year resident of Norman who was born in Saginaw, Michigan on January 28, 1918. After graduating from Fordson High School in 1936 he put himself through Michigan State University graduating in December, 1942 with a degree in Police Administration. He then attended and graduated from Field Artillery Officer Candidate School in April, 1943. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and deployed to England where he participated in the Normandy invasion in June of 1944. While there, he participated in all five major campaigns earning a Silver Star, the Bronze Star, with three clusters, and the Purple Heart. He served with distinction until he returned to the U.S. in 1945. Recalled to active duty in 1950, he was posted to various assignments around the world including serving as the Assistant Army Attaché in the US Embassy in Saigon, 1959-1960. Colonel Wiltse was the Professor of Military Science at the University of Oklahoma from 1965-1969. While there, during that turbulent time in our history, he counseled a great number of young men as students, and maintained innumerable contacts throughout his life. He retired from active duty in March, 1973. On March 28 2013, Colonel Wiltse was awarded the Legion of Honor from the Government of France for his distinguished service during World War II. He and his wife of fifty three years, Jeannette Elliott Wiltse, were active citizens in the Norman community. They were involved with several civic organizations including: Reading for the Blind, The Norman Chamber of Commerce, The Norman Ambassadors, and The Retired Officers Associations. His beloved wife died in 1995. He is survived by his sons, Elliott Wiltse of Charleston, West Virginia and Christopher Wiltse (Emily) of Memphis, Tennessee; two grandchildren Patrick Wiltse of Austin, Texas and Allyson Wiltse of Memphis, Tennessee; two step-grandchildren Rob Routon of Jackson, Tennessee, Emily Routon of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While in Saigon, Vietnam the Wiltse’s were Foster parents to Dick Ong and brought him to the United States where he lived with them until he graduated from High School in1967. Dick now resides in San Francisco, Ca. with his wife. Gifts and donations can be directed to Colonel Woodrow Wiltse Scholarship foundation at the University of Oklahoma. Services are under the direction of Primrose Funeral Service. To leave condolences or to watch a memorial tribute for Colonel Woodrow Wiltse, please visit


  • Memorial Service Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Colonel (retired) Woodrow W. Wiltse

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Pete Costilow

April 25, 2014

I first met COL Wiltse as a young ROTC cadet at the University of Oklahoma in 1965. I was immediately impressed by his military bearing and outstanding reputation as being a very competent and fair Professor of Military Science (PMS) After graduation in '68 and a tour in Vietnam, I did not see him again until 2000. He remembered me and verified it by sharing some anecdotes. He had a great sense of humor and an infectious smile. You always left his presence in a better mood than when you first encountered him. He influenced and prepared many future officers who went to face combat in Vietnam and careers in the Army. I considered him a friend, mentor, and the consummate Army Officer. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on in the Army ROTC Armory at OU.

Paul D. "Pete" Costilow
BG, USA Retired

May 16, 2013


Your dad was a gentleman and officer. I remember many fun evenings in their home in the 1960s. Then, he had me to dinner when my daughter began her OU experience in 2000. I have kept up with him through Mr. Ford on the OU Business School board. He was special! It was sad to learn of your loss.

May 3, 2013

I never met Col. Wiltse but I can say that he raised an amazing son named Elliott. Elliott displays respect, generosity and encouragement in his personal life as well as in his interactions with the people he mets. Col. Wiltse and his wife did an excellent job raising Mr. Elliott.


Laura Starr

May 2, 2013

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Colonel Wiltse and his wife for being who they were and for what they gave me. They always welcomed the little girl from across the street into their home, where they taught me about the wonders of Asia, the honor of military service, and the value of community. Rest in peace.

Linda Grissette

May 1, 2013

I remember COL Wiltze from my first two years (1967-69) in CAPERS (a coed group affiliated with ROTC) and thought the world of him. I hope that all of the kind words here will be of comfort to his family at this very hard time.

Josh Edge

May 1, 2013

Dutch was an incredibly exuberant and positive man. I knew him through Ace Hardware in Norman. I was introduced to him one afternoon when he brought bananas to the West Main store staff. I found out later that this was a weekly event and everyone looked forward to his visits. Dutch was kind and thoughtful and always had an encouraging comment. He will be missed.

Darryl Carter

May 1, 2013

It was my pleasure to meet, and be aquainted with, this true gentleman while Elliott and I were geology grad students. Men like Colonel Wiltse put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and way of life. How can we not be eternally grateful?

Michael Stuckert

May 1, 2013

Colonel Wiltse was also my Professor of Military Science from '65-'69. I owe much of my military experience to the Colonel's guidance and strongly worded suggestions. I salute Colonel Wiltse, the man and the soldier. Thank you sir!

Billy Butler

May 1, 2013

I met Colonel Wiltse when I served as the OU PMS from 1976 to 1980. He was an exceptional man, officer, mentor and friend.

Billy C. Butler
Colonel USA, Retired

Glenn & Ingrid Boone

April 30, 2013

We met Woody when we joined Noman Chamber Ambassadors. He was a lovely, generous person. He also enjoyed visiting with us about his time he spent in Ansbach, Germany while in service. Woody, we will miss you.