John R. Westphal, LtCol USAF, Ret., “Headed West” on July 31, 2022.

Honored family patriarch, John “Westy” Westphal made his last take off on July 31st, 2022, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was born on February 14th, 1931, in Walla Walla, Washington to Raymond and Aileen (Tweed) Westphal. The family moved back to their farm in Salem, Oregon where he was raised. The family reorganized during World War II with John’s mother marrying Dr. H.A. Perlmutter and moving to Berkeley, CA.

Graduation from Berkeley High School in 1948 was followed by three years at College of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. With the Korean War in progress and the Draft Board eminent, Westy decided to join the U.S. Air Force. Westphal entered the USAF in 1951, graduated from Pilot Flying School in 1953, and was immediately posted to Korea as an F-84 Fighter Pilot. Perhaps this might account for the fact that the war ended three weeks after his arrival.

While on his first tour of duty at Luke, he was an F-100 Instructor Pilot and managed to meet and marry the lovely Denise Byerly from Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. Daughter Tamara arrived in time to accompany her folks to Itazuke, Japan. While in Japan, another daughter, Dana, joined the family in time to return for another tour at Luke. Westphal then served in Southeast Asia accumulating the usual gongs and whistles (John’s term for medals) awarded for combat exposure.

He then proceeded to further his education at Armed Forces Staff College (Norfolk, VA), San Diego State University, and a Master’s from University of Oklahoma. An assignment at Fort Carson, Colorado as Air Force Liaison with the Army, added to the adventure. Luke AFB was next for him as Commander of the 311th Fighter Squadron, flying the F-4 Phantom jet. Next it was overseas for the entire family to Okinawa, Japan and then finally back to Luke and retirement after 30 years of military service.

Westphal decided to try the civilian job market and landed a position with the Maricopa County Management Analysis Section and then as a Right-of-Way Agent for the Highway Department. From there he had a stint with the Arizona Department of Revenue followed by a Governor-appointed position on the State Board of Equalization from 1993-2003.

In addition to fishing with his buddies, Westy loved playing golf at the WigWam Golf and Country Club where he also served as Treasurer. He had a unique and special relationship with each of his children and grandchildren and was the consummate role model.

His grace and humor will be missed by his survivors: beloved wife of 65 years Denise, and his two loving children Tamara (Alan) Bowman, and Dana (John) Marsden. Four Grandchildren: Sarah, AJ, Oliver and Benjamin and three great grandchildren and all of his many nieces and nephews.

Private services were held at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Visit for online condolences. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the USO at P.O. Box 96860 Washington DC 20077-7677.

Published by Thompson Funeral Chapel on Aug. 15, 2022


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