Joe Richards Whittaker
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1923 ~ 2013
Joe Richards Whittaker, our dear husband, father, and grandpa, passed away peacefully at home on June 25, 2013. Joe was born in Salt Lake City on January 30, 1923, to Lena May and Lindon Douglas Whittaker. He graduated from West High School in 1941 and served in Patton's Third Army from Normandy to Bavaria in WWII. He married Marva Johnson in 1946 and, after he joined the LDS Church, they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. In 1949 they built their family home in "Johnsonville," an enclave of Marva's family on Mill Creek, allowing their children to grow up surrounded by their grandparents and cousins.
Constantly cheerful, Joe's delight was making people happy and hearing them laugh. His quick wit and wonderful sense of humor won him countless lifelong friends, and served him well in his career as a salesman and in many church callings, including three Bishoprics and nine years at the Salt Lake Temple.
Joe was always willing to help, and one volunteer activity he really enjoyed was cooking pancakes on his huge griddle. He flipped pancakes at the East Millcreek Lions Club "Fourth of July Breakfast" for 20 years and at countless ward and stake outings, where his fun personality frequently meant he did double-duty as Emcee. For his many years of service Joe was honored in 1999 by the Lions Club as East Millcreek's Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
Joe enjoyed working in his Garden of Weeden, and riding his John Deere tractor to tend the garden and orchard in summer and to clear snow from the neighbors' driveways in winter. He whistled while he worked outdoors or in his "Creekside" workshop where he built birdhouses and M&M dispensers for his friends and family. He also enjoyed bowling, and won many trophies and even bowled a perfect game.
Joe's finest hour and favorite role was being Grandpa Joe. He loved being with his grandkids, and made efforts to be with them all the time. He took them fishing, on trips, to his house to play cards or sleep over, or just to run errands. He was the kind of grandpa that early every Sunday for years would drive to his grandsons' house to help them deliver the heavy morning paper; not out of duty but because he loved the time together. Joe adored his grandkids with all his heart and they knew it. At his 75th birthday party one of his neighbors paid him this tribute, "In my next life I want to be one of Joe Whittaker's grandkids."
He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister, June Terrell. He will be greatly missed by his devoted wife, Marva, his two daughters, Jill (Fred) Healey, and Ginger Evans (Gerald) Hyde, his son, Joe Richards Whittaker Jr. (Rich), and a proud posterity of 14 grandchildren and spouses, 53 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, all of whom loved him dearly.
Many thanks to Haven Hospice, especially Carrie, Teresa, Brett, Mark.
Funeral services will be at noon on Monday, July 1, in the Valley View 4th Ward Building, at 2125 Evergreen Avenue. Viewings will be held there from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on June 30 and before the funeral from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Interment at Elysian Burial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, honor Joe's legacy by taking delight this month in making someone else happy. Messages to the family may be sent to www.holbrookmortuary.com.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from June 28 to June 30, 2013