John S. O’Toole – Captain, United States Army

Los Altos, California, resident Sherrill O'Toole Walker beamed with pride as she spoke of her father, Dr. John O'Toole, who was buried this month with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. He died August 15, 1999, at the age of 88.

In addition to being a respected Californian physician, Dr. O'Toole was the most highly decorated U.S. doctor of World War II.

John O'Toole graduated from Syracuse University's medical school in 1938. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in World War II and served in the 82nd Airborne and in the 977th Field Artillery Battalion. He participated in five major D-Day assaults, saving 28 men. In recognition of his service, Dr. O'Toole was the recipient of two purple hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Croix de Guerre, the French medal of honor.

After his discharge at the rank of Captain in 1948, Dr. O'Toole moved to Southern California where he practiced medicine until he was 80. He founded the Riverside Medical Clinic and became the first allergist for inland Southern California.

“His personal gifts of healing and heroism were Dad's monument, but he also left a remarkable legacy of various interests, both big and small, which enriched the family,” his daughter said. Walker smiled as she spoke of her father's personality and relationships with his friends and family.

“He was a great Irishman and was always known for loving a good joke. He was the only Army man accepted by his sea buddies, who were all ex-Navy men.”

Dr. O'Toole's casket was transported to its resting place by a two-horse caisson, escorted by a full platoon and a military band. The cortege was also accompanied by The Legion of Valor, an honorary group of men who have received the Distinguished Service Cross.

The flag was flown at half-mast following a 21-gun salute.

The Army presented a gold cross to Dr. O'Toole's daughter Sherrill Walker and her husband John. Dr. O'Toole's wife Patsy received the traditional flag.

Dr. O'Toole's service to his country was so significant that the Army extended the standard custom by bestowing an additional flag to both of his two grandchildren, Devan and Quinn O'Toole Walker.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 12/20/1910
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/15/1999

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