Dean E. Lange, 98, who retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force — formerly of Fairmont, North Dakota, and Denver, Colorado — passed away Jan. 14, 2022, at his home in Mesa with his wife, Chestine, at his side.
His last public appearance was with his wife at the Wreaths Across America event Dec. 18 at Mountain View Funeral Home & Cemetery, 7900 E. Main St. in Mesa.
Lange was born Oct. 31, 1923, in Fairmount, North Dakota. He flew combat missions in a P-51 Mustang in World War II and was shot down over France, spending the remainder of the war in a German prisoner of war camp at Stalag Luft I. He carried shrapnel in his left arm the remainder of his life.
Lange later retired from the Air Force, spent time as a helicopter flight instructor for the U.S. Army and had a crop-dusting business for many years.
He was an expert bridge player, an excellent dancer and after retirement enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, Chestine.
Lange is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lois Chestine; son Bill Lange (Judy) of Dundee, Minnesota; daughter Naomi Simmons (Yonge) of Colorado Springs; stepson Randy Brander of Selma, Texas; four grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
A memorial Service will be held later. Donations in Lange's name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Lange was a member of the American Ex-POW East Valley Chapter and a member of American Legion Post No. 27.
Editor’s note: Gold Canyon resident Nancy Fassbender is a board member of the Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation and the author of “My Fallen Hero.”
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