John David Caputo of Murdock, Washington was born in Piermont, New York to Joe and Minnie Caputo on December 3, 1925. He died February 25, 2014. John was the sixth of eight children. He was preceded in death by both mother and father, his brothers Angelo, Lewis (killed in Korea), Tony and sisters Mary and Rose.
When John was seventeen he joined the Navy where he spent his training in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1943 he boarded the famed USS South Dakota where he saw action in World War II. After leaving the Navy for two years he again enlisted and boarded the USS Pirate which was sunk in North Korea’s Wonsan Harbor in 1950. John was injured during this and awarded the Purple Heart. He spent seven months in Bremerton Naval Hospital in Washington. On the LST 855 in South Korea he jumped overboard to save a fellow shipmate and kept him afloat until help arrived. He was awarded the Commendation Medal. He also was in Vietnam teaching wartime procedures where he won the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Along with the Purple Heart he was awarded a World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit along with others.
In 1966 he left the Navy and settled in Toledo, Washington. He belonged to the Operating Engineers, working on rock crushers for the Wallace Brothers Construction in Toledo for six years and Lakeside Industries of Issaquah, Washington for seven years and retired in 1985.
In 1979 he married June Sampson and acquired three stepchildren. He called his wife his “beautiful lady” and was extremely happy until her death in August of 2012. John is known for his stories of the Navy and would talk to anyone and everyone.
He is survived by his stepdaughters Leatha Carter of White Salmon, Washington and Lorrie Jones of Union, Oregon. He has been well-loved by his surviving brother Joe Caputo of Earlton, New York, his sister Josephine of Arlington, Texas, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, his stepchildren, his dear neighbors, friends and the many who will recognize him from his photo as the friendly jokester and talker.
Great appreciation goes out to Heart of Hospice who took part in the care of John while he was ill.
A celebration of John’s life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 15 at Gardner Funeral Home, 1270 N. Main Ave. White Salmon, WA 98672. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Gardner Funeral Home PO Box 390 White Salmon and by visiting www.gardnerfh.com
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