Robert E. Whitney
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Robert Ellsworth Whitney, age 90, passed away peacefully at his home on September 9, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Rollette, North Dakota in 1923, Robert (Bob) was the son of the late Ralph Dunn Whitney and Mildred Olson Whitney of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bob graduated as salutatorian of his class in 1941 from Mora High School in Mora, Minnesota where he was President of his junior and senior classes, President of the Student Council, captain of the basketball team and an Eagle Boy Scout. He served three years in the U.S. Army, two of which were in Europe during World War II, as a laboratory technician in medical field hospitals. After paying his way through college by working as a surveyor, waiter and haberdasher, Bob graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1947 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree.
Bob joined Hercules Incorporated out of college serving in the Wilmington, DE Research Center, then Chicago sales district, manager of the Coatings & Specialty Products Department, and general manager of the International Department. Bob was a pioneer in international business, as he was one of the first western businessmen selected to visit China after the United States signed the historic Shanghai Communique in 1972 that opened the doors for economic development between China and the U.S. Bob retired in 1986 after thirty-nine years of loyal and distinguished service with Hercules, Inc.
Bob served as President of The Delaware Multiple Sclerosis Society. He was the Council Commissioner and long-time board member of the Delmarva Chapter of the Boy Scouts and recipient of the prestigious Silver Beaver Award, (given for exemplary civilian service to the Boy Scouts). After barely surviving colon cancer in 1981, Bob became an advocate for early colon cancer screening and successfully lobbied insurance companies to designate such screenings as a routine preventative procedure.
Bob loved his family, travel, golf, gardening, history, bird-watching, billiards, horseshoes and his home. His zest for life and love of people endeared him to all who had the good fortune of crossing his path during his life's adventure. The family would like to thank the staff of Delaware Hospice for the excellent care and support given to Bob during his recent illness.
Bob was predeceased by his first wife, Marjorie Campbell Whitney in 1965 and became the patriarch of a wonderful "yours, mine and ours" family after marrying Joan Gawel Prendergast in 1967, who was predeceased by her first husband, James T. Prendergast in 1963. Bob is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Joan P. Whitney, two sisters, Mildred (Peggy) Anderson and Kathleen (Kay) Malcolm, six children, Janet L. Whitney, Ronald D. Whitney (Carol), James T. Prendergast, Jr. (Eleanor), Jonathan J. Prendergast (Sally), Jennifer Whitney Bufano (Michael) and Robert E. Whitney, Jr. (Emily), sixteen grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Funeral services will be held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 West 13th Street, Wilmington on Saturday morning, September 14, 2013 at 10:00AM. Visitation will be held in the church from 8:30-9:45AM. Interment will follow in St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery, Greenville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Delaware Hospice, 3515 Silverside Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19810.
To offer condolences, visit
Doherty Funeral Homes - Delaware Avenue
1900 Delaware Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19806
Published in The News Journal from Sept. 12 to Sept. 13, 2013