ASHFIELD - Walter A. Whitney, Jr., 97, passed away Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at the New England Health Center in Sunderland. He had been a lifelong resident of Ashfield.
Born Feb. 8, 1916, in Ashfield, Walt was the son of Walter A., Sr., and Jennie L. (Walden) Whitney.
Walt grew up on the family farm, attended the Plain School and graduated in 1933 from Sanderson Academy. He graduated from Massachusetts State College in 1938, now the University of Massachusetts, where he majored in mathematics and earned a letter for running Cross Country.
Following graduation, Walt worked several simultaneous part-time jobs, at the Conway National Bank, the Conway Savings Bank, and at Elmer's Store.
Walt served in the U.S. Army
from 1943 to 1946 in Europe. He was a member of the 740th Field Artillery Battalion, where he served in Headquarters Battery as a fire direction computer. He assisted in the liberation of Normandy and Brittany before moving to the Ardennes, where he was in the Battle of the Bulge. He crossed Germany with General Patton's 3rd Army, eventually making it as far as Austria. Walt received four campaign stars, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.
Following his discharge in 1946, Walt was hired by the First National Bank of Amherst. He started as a teller and worked his way up to become vice-president and cashier. While at the bank he graduated from the Williams College School of Banking in 1960 and from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in 1965. Walt retired from the bank, after 33 years of service, in 1979.
In 1946, Walt was a founding member of Ashfield Legion Post 245, where he was a past commander. At the time of his death he was the eldest member of the post. In 1952, Walt was also one of the founders of the Ashfield Ambulance Service and served for 50 years as an ambulance volunteer and later as a member of the executive board. Walt was trustee of the Belding Memorial Library for many years and was chairman of the trustees from 1968 until 1987. He was a member and past president of the Trustees of Sanderson Academy from 1941 until his death. He was a director and treasurer of the Ashfield Golf Club from 1951 until 2010.
Walt was a life member of the Ashfield Historical Society, a member of the First Congregational Church in Ashfield, an incorporator of the Mohawk Valley Health Center in Charlemont, and of the Knowlton Foundation in Gardner.
As the eldest resident of Ashfield, he had possession of the Boston Post gold cane.
Walt was married to the former Alice Doneilo, who passed away in May 1990, just weeks before they would have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.
A sports fan to the end, Walt enjoyed all sports but was particularly fond of the Boston Red Sox and the UMass football, baseball and basketball teams. He enjoyed helping his daughter and son-in-law around the family farm and lifted hay bales and helped with the sheep until well into his eighties.
Walt leaves his daughter Faye Whitney and son-in-law Philip Lussier of Ashfield; two cousins; two sisters-in-law; a brother-in-law; a niece; and two nephews.
At his request there will be no services.
He asked that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in his name should donate to Ashfield American Legion Post 245, P.O. Box 463, Ashfield, MA 01330 or to the Trustees of Sanderson Academy, c/o Martha Trenholm, 171 North Warger Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.
To send a message of condolence visit: www.smithkelleherfuneralhome.com.
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