Christopher Paul Navarre, Sr. 1920-2017
First Sergeant Navarre

Christopher Paul Navarre Sr. (Papa, Pop, Pops), long-term resident of DuPont Washington since 1959, peacefully passed away on June 24, 2017 at the full age of 97. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of nine siblings, he married Bernice Breaux in 1943 before deploying to the European theater in World War II and the Korean conflict. Pop was a member of the 761st Tank Battalion under General George Patton, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. In later years he received a Silver Star and the Legion of Honor for his heroic efforts. Pop was a true American hero from "The Greatest Generation." He and his wife raised three boys in the historic village of DuPont. Later in his career he became active as a member of the DuPont Ft. Lewis School Board and the DuPont Town Council, as well as many other community service activities. He was preceded in death by his son Christopher Paul Navarre, Jr., and recently his wife of 74 years, Bernice. He is survived by his sons Michael and Vincent and their wives Peggy and Sarah, as well as five grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Christopher Paul Navarre, Sr. will be remembered as a devoted husband and loving father.

Obituary originally published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on July 9, 2017



Note: Navarre ceremony On April 10, 2007, in a ceremony at the Washington State Capitol, Christopher P. Navarre was awarded the medal signifying appointment to the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France.

One of the regular army's youngest First Sergeant’s in 1943, Christopher Navarre was required to accept a reduction in rank to private to transfer from an unarmed ambulance company of the 429th medical ambulance battalion to join the 761st Tank Battalion in armed combat (as there was no vacancy for a First Sergeant in a black combat unit.) He remained on the front line as a tank gunner until the end of the war. In 1997, then retired Chief Warrant Officer Navarre received the Silver Star for actions in Task Force Rhine (in March of 1945).

Before retiring from the United States Army in 1963, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher P. Navarre served in a number of different units, including the 116th Combat Engineers in Korea and the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan, but he never really left the 761st Tank Battalion behind. Over the years he has worked tirelessly to ensure that the veterans of the 761st (and for that matter, all veterans) are remembered and that their sacrifices are acknowledged. He has been responsible for a special display at the Fort Lewis Military Museum in Washington.

Topps Obituary

Taffy Bates, 1918-2014

TaffyTaffy Bates died peacefully in her Florida home Sunday, October 19, 2014. She was 96. Born Helen Rosen in Queens, New York, “Taffy,” a name she fashioned for herself, volunteered for duty as an Army nurse during World War II. She railed against the inequities she found like curfews and lesser pay for nurses. She served in Louisiana as well as Texas and cared for the wounded near the front in the European Theater from the fall of 1944 until the war’s end. She left the Army after the war.
Taffy Rosen met then-Major Paul L. Bates at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, early during his years with the 761st Tank Battalion and she married him after the war. They had one son, Paul Jr. After Colonel Paul Bates’ retirement they looked at moving to Spain, but settled outside Tampa, Florida, in 1967, in a home designed by talented Paul Jr. Taffy became active in medicine and women’s medical rights. The Bates' love affair continued after Paul Sr.’s death in 1995. She spent her last 20 years keeping Paul Bates' memory alive. Her one wish: to join him again. She will be buried with her husband at Arlington Cemetery.