Donald Robert Whitney passed away peacefully on June 10, 2020, at the Mill Hill Residence in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, at the age of 101. He was loved, respected and admired by all.
Don was born April 17, 1919 in Trumbull, Connecticut, the second son of Harold F. and Laura (Smith) Whitney. A graduate of Boston University, he served in the U.S. Army in Italy in World War II, earning the rank of lieutenant before leaving the service in 1946. He married Loretta Curran while on leave on October 5, 1942, and they remained happily married for 69 years before she passed away on May 9, 2012.
Don had a strong work ethic and a distinguished career. He worked for Columbia Records in the 1940s and 50s, where, among other things, he was in charge of installing its very first computer system – in 1950. In the 1970s, he rose to the rank of partner in the accounting firm Hurdman and Cranstoun, and after retiring from there, was appointed as Commissioner of the Insurance Fund for the State of Oklahoma.
Once again retiring, Don and Loretta moved to Dennis, MA, in the mid-eighties, but Don was not yet ready to rest on his laurels. Shortly after his arrival, he took a position with Orleans Auto Supply in Hyannis, where he worked for another twenty years before retiring at age 88.
A devout Catholic, he served at St. Pius X Church in various capacities while residing on Cape, including as a reader at Sunday Mass for many years.
Above all, Don is best remembered as a devoted and loving husband, a model father, and a man blessed with a rare combination of great wisdom, common sense, modesty, and good humor. Not only an excellent provider for his family, with his sound advice and gentle guidance, he was a source of security and stability to his children, not just when they were young, but to the end of his days.
He is survived by his six children and their spouses – Donald Jr. and his wife Rita, Sheila Whitney Hemm and her husband Jim, David Whitney and his wife Karen, Mary Eileen Whitney and her husband Jerry Portnoy, Richard Whitney and his wife Paula, and James Whitney and his wife Kellie. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and an extended step-family of many more.
A private funeral Mass will be held at St. Pius X Church, South Yarmouth, MA, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Interment to follow at Quivet Neck Cemetery in East Dennis for family only.
The Whitney family would like to express their gratitude to management and staff at Thirwood Place, Don’s home for seven years, where he enjoyed life to the fullest. We would also like to thank the many places that cared for Don in the difficult last months of his life, with special mention to Rosewood Manor, Mayflower at Maplewood, and his final home, the Mill Hill Residence.
A very special thanks also to VNA Hospice of Cape Cod, and Bridget Penlington’s most excellent private care nurses. A special mention for Cindy Mancini of VNA Hospice, who was a wonderful caregiver and liaison. All of the women who cared for Don were exceptionally kind, conscientious, and good humored, but, most importantly, were there with Don when we could not be.
Before his passing, Don requested that in lieu of flowers, donations to VNA Hospice of Cape Cod be made. The family would be grateful for your generosity as well.
“Good fathers not only tell us how to live, they show us.” – Mark Twain