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Roy Whitman


1919 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Roy Whitman Obituary
Roy J. Whitman

1919 - 2015 WEST CASTLETON, VT Roy J. Whitman died on July 26th, 2015. Born on June 23, 1919, he was the son of Frank and Agnes Toomey Whitman, and was one of their six children who grew up in Bennington, VT. As a boy, Roy enjoyed fishing and athletics. Later, he became an outstanding lineman on the Bennington High School football team. While in high school, his enterprising skills began to show as he worked part time at Lehman's Furniture Store as a salesman, and at the BenMont Paper Company as a design detailer. Soon after high school, Roy entered General Electric as a tool maker, commuting to Pittsfield, MA each day as he learned this craft. Always an upbeat type of person he befriended many at G.E. while becoming a master at his work. In his life several great things happened, and a special one was meeting a young school teacher in Bennington who was Mary Agnes Larkin from West Casteton, VT. Their friendship led to marriage on July 25, 1942 at St. Matthew's Church in West Castleton, VT. In 1950 he entered the real estate field. To provide insurance policies for his real estate clients, Roy enrolled in education courses and became a home and auto insurance representative, thus forming the Roy J. Whitman Real Estate Insurance Agency. His success in this field was directly related to his honest and reliable service. Indeed, many families found wonderful homes through his tireless efforts. Roy and his wife, Mary Agnes, embraced family life as they raised three children and became active in community affairs. He served as chairman of the St. Mary's Parish Council, was president of the Berkshire County Board of Realtors, served on the Pittsfield Zoning Board of Appeals, and coached Little League Baseball. He followed the lives of his players for many years, and to this day his players remember him. In 1965 he closed his agency and with his broad experience in real estate financing became a mortgage loan officer at the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. He served as branch manager of the Dalton Branch and later as vice president of the Pittsfield office. An impeccable dresser, many of his business peers thought he was a Dartmouth graduate, he never said otherwise. Roy retired in 1986 and with his wife, moved to West Castleton, VT. There they purchased and refurbished Mary Agnes' homestead, the J. P. Larkin Old Colonial. He very much enjoyed maintaining this old house and its grounds. Here he started many more friendships, served on the parish council at Our Lady of Seven Dolors church, and worked at the Food Bank. A tremendous Red Sox fan, he always enjoyed play by play on radio. To him the 1967 Incredible Dream was the most thrilling season ever even though the Sox went on to win three World Series. Golfing, fishing, hunting, and bridge playing were some of his interests, but ballroom dancing with his wife to the sounds of Big Band was most special. In fact, together they received many accolades for their Foxtrot and Waltz dance styles. In 2000, the love of his life, Mary Agnes died. Although this was a huge loss he kept a positive outlook and applied his knowledge of the Big Band as he became a DJ at radio station WVNR. For many years the Roy Whitman Big Band show could be heard each week throughout Southern and Central VT and Eastern New York. In addition to his weekly show, he could be listened to each day on the morning talk and news show with Bob Bascom and Judy Leech. His sharp wit, humor, and storytelling talents entertained thousands from 6 to 9 a.m. Affectionately known on radio as "Cowboy Roy", at 93, failing eyesight and poor mobility made it difficult to perform. So, on a Sunday afternoon he signed off announcing he had another assignment. His grandchildren knew him as "Poppy Roy", a name that became synonymous with a man who was known for his kindness, compassion, and care, not only to his grandchildren, and their children, but to people throughout his beloved communities. While a patient at Bayada Home Care and Mountain View Health Care facility, once again he became a friend to many, including his medical care providers. The care he received is deeply appreciated by his family. Roy is survived by his daughters, Patricia Johnson (John) Duxbury, MA, Jeanne White (Michael) Duxbury, MA, and son, James (Bunny) of Dalton, MA, and his brother, Tom of Dorset, VT; also his grandchildren, Jennifer Southworth, Courtney Laporte (Shawn), Christopher Johnson, Deirdre Comisar (David), Timothy (Mandy), Patrick (Michaela), Joseph, Michael, and Jimmy (Katie) Whitman, and 14 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife Mary Agnes and their son, Joseph as well as his brothers, Leon and Bill, and his sisters, Peg and Martha and a great-granddaughter Kathryn B. Whitman. Roy and his wife were very much a part of the greatest generation. They are missed by so many. SERVICES: Gathering of friends and family will be Friday, July 31 from 4 to 7 pm at St. Matthew's Church in Castleton, VT. A funeral mass celebrating Roy's life will be Saturday, August 1 at 11am at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church on Washington Street, Fair Haven, VT. Memorial donations can be made to the Castleton Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 72, Castleton, VT 05735, or Volunteers in Medicine, 777 Main Street, Suite 4, Great Barrington, MA 01230.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 30, 2015
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