Stuart Mark Whitehead (1940 - 2012)

Obituary
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    - Bill Crisman(Case)
  • " With Stu's passing, I think about how the Whitehead kids..."
    - Steve McPhetres
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    - Michelle Cole
  • "I lived on Starr Hill in the 1950's directly across from..."

Lifelong Juneau resident Stuart Mark Whitehead, 72, died September 11, 2012, in Marysville, WA, from complications related to lung cancer.
Born February 26, 1940, to Southeast Alaska pioneers, Dr. William Massie Whitehead and Dorothy Johnson Whitehead, Stuart was the only son among five Whitehead children. He graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1958, and from the University of North Dakota in 1963 with a degree in business administration.
During his high-school years he played center on the basketball team. At six feet four he was built for the position, and typically was the high scorer. Along with Andy Pekovich, David Gray, Willie Petaja, Don Nowacki and others, the team beat Anchorage's West High School during Stuart's senior year to take the state championship, though Alaska was then still a territory. Captain of the team and its highest scorer in 1957 and 1958, Stuart was chosen by teammates as the most valuable player.
Stuart was active in the Church of the Holy Trinity's St. Vincent's Guild, a confraternity of boys of the parish who assisted the priest in the conduct of public worship and the celebration of Communion. Other acolytes participating in the guild during the 1950s, with whom he became friends, were Sam, David, and Steve McPhetres, Mike Blackwell, Mike and Roger Grummett, and Dick Reynolds.
He served in the U. S. Navy during the Viet Nam War aboard the USS Tortuga (LSD-26), a landing ship operating in support of Marine Corps amphibious combat operations along the China Sea coast. When he was discharged in 1965 he immediately returned to Juneau and entered the world of retail sales, becoming a partner in the Super Rexall Stores, and later the owner of a Hallmark shop, after which he retired to Whidbey Island, WA, where he lived until his death.
In 1967 he married Nellie Fowler Shattuck and adopted her three sons: Gerald, Rodney and Keith. Their own son, William Massie Whitehead II, was born in 1968. Later, Stuart married Tina Gregory Turner, and they lived on the Lena Beach site of the Whitehead family cabin, which Stuart had remodeled into a two-story log home. This was his favorite place: the home, the beach, the views across the channel, the fragrance of flowers and vegetables he grew, the yard where as a child he had played croquet and badminton with siblings and friends, the honeysuckle that climbed the chimney, the lilac bushes, and the currant and gooseberry bushes his father had planted, from which his family picked berries and made jam. He loved to fish and to dig clams. The outdoors enthralled him. His appreciation of nature was strong, invigorating, and enduring.
Stuart loved life. Always cheerful, even as a small boy, he and his older sister Page, and Sue and Mike Wade, who lived across the street from the Whitehead family home at 6th Street and Harris (now the Juneau International Youth Hostel), would whoop and holler in the basement as they played cowboys and cowgirls. He relished friendships and social gatherings. As he grew, the swings in the basement were replaced by a Ping-Pong table and then a pool table. After-school activities were organized andparties took place. Generous to a fault, he was always, as an adult, a host who enjoyed cooking and entertaining, which he did with a flourish.
During his retirement years on Whidbey Island, Stuart became housebound due to problems associated with leg fractures. He continued to plant flowers and vegetables in his yard and to welcome family and friends. He was able to make one last trip back to Juneau-in 2008-to celebrate with classmates the 50th anniversary of their high-school graduation. In addition to family, these were the folks who had been closest to him. During his final illness, they visited and called, sent cards, and kept his spirits high. "Guess who called today?" he would say with a smile in his voice. "Isn't that wonderful?"
Stuart was predeceased by his parents, his wife, Tina, and his sister, Suellen Whitehead Woolfolk. He is survived by his son, William, and grandson, Alex Whitehead, of Juneau; his adopted sons; and his stepson, Greg Turner. He is also survived by three sisters: Virginia Breeze of Juneau; Page Merrill of Salem, OR; and Anne Greene of Mt. Vernon, WA; by numerous nieces and nephews; and by relatives in Alaska, Washington State, and Virginia.


Published in The Juneau Empire on Sept. 19, 2012
Arrangements under the direction of:
Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home
804 State Ave | Marysville, WA 982704237 | (360) 659-3711
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