David Kiser Whatley

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David Kiser Whatley, 65, a Sky Valley, Georgia, City Councilman and member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Rabun County Tourism Development Authority, died November 28, 2014 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Georgia.
Born on February 2, 1949 in LaGrange, Georgia to E. Kiser Whatley, Jr. and Martha Elizabeth Thompson, David attended Harwell Avenue Elementary School, West Side Junior High School, and LaGrange High School, Class of 1967. A Wall Street Journal scholar, Whatley graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University in 1970, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He was a member and vice president of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Following in his father's footsteps, David graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree, Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Law School in 1974, where he served on Georgia Law Review, was Senior Editor from 1973-1974, and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He also served in the Georgia Air National Guard.
He began his legal career in litigation, leading to a specialty in pharmaceutical device and product liability defense. David's distinguished career included partnerships at Smith, Cohen, Ringle, Kohler & Martin, and Smith, Howard & Ajax, where many clients benefitted from his skill in expert defensive witness qualification (Daubert). He was a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta Bar Association, International Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute, Georgia Defense Lawyers, Lawyers Club of Atlanta and International Who's Who of Product Liability Lawyers. He also served as an instructor on Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law.
In 2000, he joined The Home Depot officer team as Vice President to expand the company's risk management functions into a comprehensive Enterprise-wide Risk Management Program, one of the first of its kind in corporate America. He developed and implemented this successful program, which made risk management everyone's job, resulting in increased safety and efficiency. He was a co-founder of the company's Crisis Management Center. During his tenure, David served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
His consulting firm, UTH Advisors was established in 2006, assisting clients in the areas of Governance, Compliance, Business Continuity and Crisis Management. He served on the Poole College Enterprise Risk Management Initiative Advisory Board of N. C. State University from 2007–2013.
David cherished his time spent with family and friends in bucolic Sky Valley. He was a passionate fan of college football, NASCAR and golf, was a voracious reader of spy novels, and relished his time engaged in municipal community service. He was serving in his second term of office at the time of his death and was a member of the Sky Valley Country Club.
Whatley, a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, is currently a member of the Highlands UMC. He is survived by his wife of twenty-nine years Kristin Danbury Whatley; his brother Edwin Thompson Whatley, his wife Linda Polgar and their children Katherine Georgia Thompson Whatley and India Eleanor Thompson Whatley, of Tokyo, Japan; uncle Durwood E. Roland, Greenville, Georgia., mother-in-law Katherine Bethke Danbury of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, sister-in-law Anne Danbury Marshall, her husband Robert C. Marshall and their children George and Emma of State College, Pennsylvania; brother-in-law Carl L. Danbury, Jr., his wife Maureen Callaghan Danbury of Cumming, Georgia, and their children Braden, Kyle (his wife, Kathleen), Katelyn, Samantha, Sidney and Catherine; cousins Louise Perkerson Crews and Wayne Crews of Albertville, Alabama, G.C. "Pat" Smith, Jr. and Jerry Smith, LaGrange, Georgia, Gordon M. Smith and Martha Smith, LaGrange, Georgia, Adina Roland Flavin and James Flavin, Hogansville, Georgia and a much beloved large extended family.
Services will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 in the sanctuary at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. Officiating will be Dr. G. Gil Watson and the Reverend J. Paul Christy, HUMC. The family will receive in the Faith & Arts Center immediately following the service. Interment will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at Noon at Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Georgia, officiated by Reverend G. Thomas Martin . In lieu of flowers, it is requested that those who wish to make memorial donations, please consider Northeast Georgia Food Bank or HUMC or NUMC.
The family wishes to thank the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Emory University Hospital Midtown (Crawford Long), the Visiting Nurse Health System, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Hospice for the extraordinary care throughout David's recent illness.

Published in Forsyth County News from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, 2014
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