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Janice Whiting

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Janice Heffernan Whiting Janice Heffernan Whiting, 93, died Monday, January 9, 2012 at her home in Gloucester, Va.The daughter of Calistis Edward Heffernan and Jessie Leland Stone. Mrs. Whiting spent her childhood and youth at her maternal grandparent's house on Pleasant St. in Great Barrington, and at "the cottage" on Quaker Hill's Best View Road in Waterford, Conn. Her mother's family owned and managed Perry and Stone: jewelers and silversmiths in New London: a business originally founded in Great Barrington by her grandfather, Eben Daniels Stone, and her great-grandfather, Issac George Perry. Mrs. Whiting attended Connecticut College for three years, until, in 1941, she became engaged to Captain George Whiting: a 1936 graduate of the United States Naval Academy stationed at the submarine base in New London. Before they could marry, his "boat," the USS Triton SS-201, was ordered to Pearl Harbor, and the couple wed on the island of Oahu in August the same year. On December 7, 1941, while her husband was on patrol off Wake Island, Mrs. Whiting awoke to the "racket" filtering up from the harbor: the aerial attack by Japan that would mark the beginning of the United State's involvement in WWII. A year and a half into the war, she received news that her husband's submarine, the USS Grenadier SS-210, did not report in. For most of 2 1/2 years, Mrs. Whiting did not know his fate. It was only after the cessation of hostilities that he telephoned his family from Guam, and she learned of his survival as a P.O.W. in a Japanese interrogation camp. After nursing her husband back to health, the couple began to recapture years lost to the war while stationed in Key West, Fla.: one of many assignments she enjoyed as a naval officer's wife before her husband concluded his 30 year career. Mrs. Whiting gave birth to four children over eleven years, and the family eventually relocated to Norfolk, Va., in 1969. Here, she completed the college education interrupted years earlier, obtaining a B.A. in philosophy and religion from Old Dominion University. In 1979, she and Captain Whiting settled permanently in Gloucester, Va. They devoted themselves to the preservation and archeological excavation of Rosewell: an important 18th century Virginia mansion now in ruins. She proudly participated in the Jamestown Rediscovery excavations for the fort of 1607. After the passing of her husband in 2001, Mrs. Whiting, a longtime member of the New England Genealogical Society, completed an exhaustive work on the genealogy and history of her family in New England, including the families of Stone, Perry, Porter, and Leland among others. She maintained a deep interest in her family's historical roots in Berkshire County, especially the Dr. Alanson Porter House of 1813 in Williamstown and her grandparent's house in Great Barrington. Mrs. Whiting enjoyed meeting the contemporary residents of these houses, sharing historical background and photographic material concerning the homes. Her grandmother and great-aunt recounted how, as children, an equally young W. E. B. Du Bois chased them around the yard, apparently seeking a kiss. In 1994, she and Captain Whiting, with the help of the local Historical Committee, arranged for the restoration of Dr. Alanson Porter's tombstone in Williamstown's Southlawn Cemetery: a monument which time had broken into fragments and buried. She was also a member of the Hadley Historical Society. A skilled writer with a keen, opinionated intellect, she often submitted letters for the editorial page of her local paper, expressing her desire for justice and fairness in society. In the 1950's, Mrs. Whiting worked for civil rights in Norfolk, Virginia and in the 1970's, promoted the awareness of mental health concerns after she returned to the city. She had a deep concern for the welfare of all creatures, the conservation of their habitat, as well as the protection of our world environment in general. Mrs. Whiting is survived by her daughter, Galen Whiting Bosworth; two sons, Renn Harris Whiting and George Harris Whiting, Jr.; and two granddaughters, Whitney Whiting and Brittany Bosworth. She was preceded in death by her husband Captain George Harris Whiting and her son Scott Stone Whiting. Internment of her ashes will be in Great Barrington at 2 p.m. on July 2nd in the Mahaiwe Cemetery. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, January 17th at Ware Episcopal Church in Gloucester, Virginia. Memorial gifts may be made to any worthy cause devoted to human disaster relief, preservation of the environment, and the care of animals. The Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society in Virginia was particularly dear to her heart. Donations may be sent through FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Remembrances may be sent to the family through www.finnertyandstevens.com

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 1, 2012
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