Washington State Highway Patrolman Wesley Harvey Whittenberg, a loving husband and father to five beautiful little girls, was 37 years old when he was tragically killed in 1960 while investigating a collision. He, along with another Patrolman, D.M. Wolstegel, were struck by an inattentive driver during heavy fog and icy road conditions. Wolstegel was seriously injured but survived. Patrolman Whittenberg was the 16th of the 30 members of the Washington State Patrol to give his life in the line of duty within the agency’s 100 years of service.

Originally from Oklahoma, the Whittenberg family moved to the Yakima area where Wesley attended school before joining the Navy and serving in WWll. Some six decades since his death, the devoted father, loving husband, son, brother, veteran, and friend is remembered to this day for a commitment to duty, to family, to country, and to public service and sacrifice. We remember…


Wesley H. Whittenberg was born on Dec. 28, 1923, to Lester William Whittenberg and Essie A. Freels in Elk City, Oklahoma. The family moved to Washington State where his father worked on a farm. Whittenberg attended schools in Yakima, along with his four siblings.

As only a junior in high school, Whittenberg left to join the United States Navy serving from December 1943 to May 1946 aboard naval ships as a radio operator. The choice to leave and serve his country during a time of war did not mean Whittenberg was going to leave his education incomplete. He successfully received his high school General Equivalency Degree at the end of his military service.

Beginning his career with the Washington State Patrol in 1948 as a vehicle inspector in Yakima, he became a radio operator the next year. That same year, he married the love of his life, Ina Rose Martin, on Sept. 30, 1949. Their family would grow to include their five daughters. The youngest was born after his loss, never to know her father’s embrace.

He became a member of the 15th Trooper Cadet Class and was commissioned Nov. 1, 1950, and assigned to Pasco. He transferred to Everett the following month.


Washington State Highway Patrolman Wesley H. Whittenberg’s decade long career was tragically ended on Dec. 29, 1960.

Patrolman Whittenberg, alongside newly commissioned Patrolman D. M. Wolstegel, was investigating a collision on the Stillaguamish River Bridge on U.S. Highway 99 north of Marysville that foggy Thursday morning. The two patrolmen were struck by an inattentive driver who failed to observe the scene until it was too late. Wolstegel was seriously injured but survived when the car slid sideways, striking both men.

Patrolman Whittenberg did not survive. He was 37 years old.


Washington State Highway Patrolman Wesley H. Whittenberg was survived by his wife and five daughters.

He was posthumously awarded the National Police Officers Association of America Medal of Merit in 1962. He received the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor on May 11, 1988.

The Washington State Patrol remembers Washington State Highway Patrolman Wesley H. Whittenberg as the 16th member of the organization to die in the line of duty. His name joins 29 others at the WSP Memorial in the center courtyard of the agency’s Training Academy in Shelton.

He was a public servant who served his country in a time of war and his state in daily risks. He was a father and a husband… and he was a friend.

We remember.

Washington State Highway Patrolman Wesley Harvey Whittenberg
End of Watch – December 29, 1960
Gone But Never Forgotten