Russell A. (Whitey) Andres, who lived the quintessential life of a member of the “greater generation” went to be with the Lord on January 7, 2022. He will be remembered as a faithful disciple of Jesus -Christ, loving husband, father, grandfather, hero and friend.
Born and raised in the small Midwestern town of Litchfield, Illinois, located on Mother Road, Route 66, he continued to serve his country with distinction and, with his beautiful wife Mary, raised a family, traveled the world and serve the Lord.
Whitey joined the Navy V-5 program on his 18th birthday and was made a non-commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps and obtained his wings as a naval aviator in 1943 at the age of 19 .
As a fighter pilot in World War II, he fought in the Marshall and Okinawa campaign in the South Pacific theater. pilot the F4U Corsair. Most of its combat operations involved air strikes on the various islands. His squadron, VMF 422, was honored for meritorious service, including holding the record for the longest overwater airstrike by a single-engine land plane from Engebi to Pohnpei.
Upon his return from the Pacific in 1945, he made the most important and best decision of his life to ask Mary Calcott to be his wife. She said yes. Mary was his rock, raised their five children while he was away, and was the ultimate partner in life.
During the Korean War in 1952, as a fighter / attack pilot, he flew 100 missions off aircraft carriers in the Yellow Sea.
In 1960, he was commanding officer of the VMCJ-2 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron. He and his squadron received the Navy Unit Commendation for their aerial reconnaissance operations against Cuba which were of critical importance to our national interest. It was the first NUC ever assigned to a peacetime Marine unit. He and his decorated crews carried out the missions that made the Cuban Missile Crisis and its 13 days in October one of the most written periods in our country’s history.
As a marine pilot, he accumulated 4000 flight hours and 350 aircraft carrier landings. For his service, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation.
After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1964 as a lieutenant colonel, Whitey joined Grumman Aerospace as program director for EA6A, the Electric Intruder. A few years later, Grumman launched the Gulfstream II business jet. Whitey returned to the pilot’s seat to join the Gulfstream team in Savannah, Georgia.
As chief instructor for Gulfstream, Whitey would train pilots for customers who ordered the aircraft. In 1972, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc purchased a new G II. Kroc used to get the best and he set himself the goal of hiring Whitey to pilot his new Gulfstream. Whitey accepted and joined McDonald’s later that year as chief pilot.
He flew for Kroc and McDonald’s for over ten years, traveling the world as the Golden Arches rapidly developed nationally and internationally.
Fred Turner, Ray’s number two and successor as CEO of McDonald’s, told the story of the time he met astronaut John Glenn. Glenn had flown the F4U Corsair in the Marshall Islands at the same time as Whitey during World War II. When Fred shared that Whitey was flying for him, Glenn told him that “Whitey was one of the best sea aviators he had the honor to fly with.”
After hanging up the theft glasses, Whitey and Mary worked to become McDonald’s franchisees. They became owners / operators of the new Bishop, California McDonald’s in 1982 and opened a second restaurant in Mammoth Lakes, California the following year.
After Ray Kroc passed away in 1984, Joan, his wife and philanthropist, flew to Mammoth from San Diego to visit Mary and Whitey and see their new McDonald’s. While there, she took the opportunity to share her plans to purchase a new Gulfstream IV and asked if Whitey would consider becoming her pilot. Once again he headed for the wild blue out there and piloted his Gulfstream until he was 75.
Mary and Whitey were living in Carlsbad, California when he retired from aviation. Mary and Whitey spent the next 15 years crossing the country in their vehicle. They’ve traveled America’s back roads, stopping at museums and national parks, and rarely flown again. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren, serving others, his neighbors and his church, taking pictures, going to Costco and the beautiful Southern California weather, but most of all he loved being with Mary.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife Mary, his parents Vesta Marie and Russell George and his sister Lois. He is survived by their five children; Russell Jr. and his wife Cary; Kris Martin and her husband Billy; William and his wife Sally; Michael and his wife Connie; Geoffry and his wife Greta. Her beloved grandchildren Ryan; Erin Whitfield and her husband Eric; Alyssa Kennedy and her husband Tully; Michael Martin and his wife Callen; Brandelyn, Jamie Torrence and her husband Will; Mary Valdez and her husband Vince; Nicolas; Monika Goodman and her husband Matt; Will and his wife Stefany; and Madison. Also survived by his great-grandchildren Waylon and Taylor Whitfield; Keller and Delaney Kennedy; Scott and Selma Martin; Ashlyn and Kylie; Lea Valdez; Olive, Rockwell and Marigold Goodman; Via and JR
The family would like to especially thank their primary caregivers Nancy, Yeshi and Ricky for the love and care they have shown her over the past few years. We would also like to thank the staff at Brookdale for all their care.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Russell A. (Whitey) Andres, please visit our flower shop.
Posted by Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, Funeral Home & Cremation Center – Nashville on January 9, 2022.