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Charles Whittington

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Aven Whittington


Charles Aven Whittington passed away on Sunday, September 18, 2011, at the age of 93. He was preceded in death by his wives Mary Elizabeth Oliver Whittington in 1961 and Hortense Spann Whittington in 2010, as well as his son Kendrick Oliver Whittington in 1975.

Funeral services are 11 A.M. Thursday Sept. 22, 2011 at First Baptist Church with interment in Odd Fellows Cemetery. Dr. Joe Pate Will Officiate. Visitation is from 10A.M.-11A.M. at the Church.

He was born on December 10, 1917 in Greenwood Mississippi to U.S. Representative William Madison Whittington and Anna Ward Aven Whittington, where he joined older siblings Mary "Whitt" Bailey Whittington Davenport and William "Bill" Madison Whittington, Jr. He graduated from Greenwood High School in 1935 and from Princeton University in 1939 with an A.B. in Economics. A good-looking man, he spent one of his collegiate evenings with a fledgling journalist passing as Jimmy Stewart, another esteemed Princetonian. According to family lore, he was also the Ping Pong Champion of the university. Upon his graduation, Mr. Whittington returned to Greenwood and began farming. At the time of his death, he had begun picking his 72nd crop.

Mr. Whittington remained actively involved in the First Baptist Church throughout his life. He was a former deacon and acted as the finance chairman as well, helping to raise money to build the church's sanctuary. He was a former Sunday School Superintendent and taught Sunday School until 2010. The organ in the church was given by Mr. Whittington and his siblings in honor of their parents.

He continued in his father's footsteps of service to his country by acting as a consultant for the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Whittington served as Chairman of the Board for the National Cotton Council of America, Staplcotn Cooperative Association, Yazoo Valley-Minter City Oil Mill, Inc., Farmer's Supply Cooperative, Farm Credit Banks of New Orleans, and the Cotton Board. He was appointed by the President to the governing bodies of the Federal Home Loan Bank, Federal Land Bank, and the Bank of Cooperatives. In its fiftieth year, Mr. Whittington served as president of the National Cotton Council of America. He served as a director on the boards of Mississippi Chemical Corporation, Delta Purchasing Federation, and the Bank of Commerce.

Mr. Whittington served as past president of the Delta Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America and received the Silver Beaver Award in 1969 for his distinguished service and hard work, self-sacrifice, and dedication to the Scouting program. He was also past president of Delta Council, Kiwanis Club of Greenwood, Greenwood Little Theatre, Mississippi Association of Conservation Commissioners and Mississippi Heart Association. He was a trustee of Mississippi College.

Mr. Whittington's philanthropy did not stop with donation of his time and skills. He and his siblings donated his parents' home to become the State Headquarters for the Garden Club of Mississippi as well as the land for the construction of Greenwood Little Theatre. He was a tireless supporter of Cottonlandia Museum.

Mr. Whittington's community and peers recognized his incredible achievements. In 1989, he was named the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for Princeton University. In that same year, he was selected as the winner of the first Greenwood Commonwealth Community Service Award. In 1999, he was named the third recipient of the Leflore County Hall of Fame.

Mr. Whittington is survived by his children Ward Whittington Sumner (wife of James C. Sumner) of Jackson, Mississippi; George G. Griffin (husband of Pam Griffin) of Germantown, Tennessee; Charles Aven Whittington, Jr. of Schlater, Mississippi; and Margaret Griffin Bailey of Grenada, Mississippi. He is survived by nine grandchildren—Coleman "Coley" L. Bailey, Jr.; Emily Griffin Butler; Joshua Spencer Glazer; Whit Griffin; Marie Bailey Lee; Anna Aven Sumner; James Carliss Sumner, III; Wilson Whittington Sumner; and Charles Aven Whittington, III—and many great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Cottonlandia Museum 1608 Highway 82W, Greenwood, MS 38930; First Baptist Church of Greenwood, 500 West Washington Street, Greenwood, MS 38930; or Leflore County Humane Society, PO Box 620, Greenwood, MS 38930, or the .

An online guest register may be signed at

Published in Clarion Ledger on Sept. 20, 2011
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