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St Paul's Episcopal Parish
2216 17th St
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Jim Whitley


1932 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Jim Whitley Obituary
Jimmie Donald Whitley passed away on December 22, 2015, in Bakersfield surrounded by his loving family and Father Tim Vivian.
Jim was born on May 20, 1932, in Merced, California. He attended Fresno High School where he played football and was an All-American baseball player, graduating in 1950. Jim attended the University of California Berkeley where he played football for the Golden Bears.
He met Dolores Helen Sackett at Cal and they were married on December 19, 1954. In 1956, Jim was drafted into the US Army and served at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, WA, Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Co, and was eventually transferred to a US military base in Chinon, France. Jim was a Physical Therapist on base, and also served as the head coach for the base football team. Dolores joined him in France and taught the children of US servicemen.
Jim and Dolores returned to the US in 1958, where Jim completed his Masters degree at the University of California. In 1959, he was selected as the head football coach at the University of California Riverside. Jim led the Highlanders for six years while also serving as a Supervisor of Physical Education. During this timeframe, Jim and Dolores had their two children, Scott Sackett (1959) and Colleen Anne (1963).
Jim returned to Berkeley in 1966 to pursue his doctorate in Physical Education, which he earned in 1968. He returned to University of California Riverside to pursue his passions for teaching and research.
In 1971, Jim was selected as the first ever Athletic Director, and Chairman of the Physical Education Department, at the new state college in Bakersfield. Early on in his tenure at CSUB, he designed and developed the college's first Physical Education Research Laboratory. Jim had a variety of roles in his 27 years at CSUB, including Dean of the School of Education and was awarded Outstanding Professor of the Year 1996-1997, but his first love was always teaching students in the classroom.
He was very active in retirement and remained so up until his passing. With Dolores, he served St. Paul's Episcopal Church and its ministries, volunteered at Pioneer Drive Elementary School in East Bakersfield, and supported the Dr. Ernest Williams Scholarship Fund, which he founded at CSUB. Jim and Dolores traveled all over the world, but they had a special fondness for France, returning many times over the years. He was also a self-taught artist, painting numerous oil paintings over the years.
Jim had a tremendous passion for sports. He especially loved his service as a volunteer football coach at Stockdale High School. Jim took great pleasure in coaching and encouraging the Mustang players. He also loved playing golf and enjoyed his time on the course with good friends.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Leona Whitley (1997/2010), his brother Milton (2007) and sister Jeannie (2001).
Jim is survived by his wife Dolores, son Scott and his wife Donna of Englewood, CO, and daughter Colleen and her spouse, Sarah Lowe of San Luis Obispo, CA; his grandchildren are James and Colleen Whitley, the children of Scott and Donna, who are attending Universities in Boulder, CO, and Madison, WI, respectively. He will also be greatly missed by his dog, Tiny II.
To celebrate Jim's life, a memorial service will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2216 17th St., Bakersfield, CA, at 11 AM on Saturday, January 9th, 2016.
The Whitley Family would like to thank the ICU staff at Mercy Southwest Hospital and Agape In Home Care for their care and compassion in Jim's last days. Our deepest gratitude to the Bakersfield City firefighters and Hall Ambulance paramedics who also treated Jim with dignity and compassion. The Family is also very appreciative of the care provided by Dr. Atul Aggarwal over the last several months.
The Whitley Family welcomes donations made in Jim's name to one of the following:
• St. Paul's Episcopal Church's Food Pantry; Attention: ending Father Tim Vivian,
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2216 17th St, Bakersfield, CA, 93301
• The Dr. Ernest W. Williams Scholarship Fund, c/o California State
University-Bakersfield, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA, 93311
We love you so much Dad and you will always be the wind beneath our wings.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Dec. 29, 2015
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