A.B. Whitley, 85, of Anacoco, died on Sept. 25, 2013 of natural causes after an extended hospital stay in Alexandria.
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Mr. Whitley was born on Nov. 30, 1927 in Leesville, to James Thomas Whitley and Cora Malora Jeane Whitley. A.B. was the older of two siblings in the Whitley family and grew up on the family farm west of Anacoco. A.B. graduated from Orange High School in 1945 and joined the U.S. Navy to defend our nation in World War II, rising quickly to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class before the end of the war. During his tour in the U.S. Navy he participated in naval operations protecting the coastlines and key ports of the U.S. and Central America.
Immediately after returning home from World War II, A.B. enrolled in the Vincent School of Business in Lake Charles, and obtained an Associate Degree in Accounting. After receiving his accounting degree, A.B. married his high school sweetheart, Nettie Louise (Lou) Brown Whitley, and joined the International Paper Company as a junior accountant at one of the firm's paper mills in Bastrop. A.B. enjoyed a very successful five-year stint with International Paper Company and was promoted to roles of ever-increasing responsibility, including job assignments in Atlanta, Ga. and Kansas City, Mo.
A.B. left International Paper Company to move back home to Anacoco and become General Manager of Prassel Lumber Company in Leesville. In later years he founded Cargo Master, a wood pallet manufacturing company in Leesville, and worked for many years as a general contractor for H&H Bain Roofing, Smart Enterprises and Whitley & Associates. During his time at Smart Enterprises, he constructed numerous buildings at Fort Polk, including dental and medical clinics, barracks, mess halls and office buildings. Later in life, he completed a real estate course at Louisiana State University Alexandria and became a licensed real estate agent.
His greatest achievements in life were enjoyed over the past 15 years as a member of Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Leesville, where he was a proud member who volunteered his time and service to many activities and benefits. After joining Saint Michael's in 1998, A.B. became a church usher, joined the Knights of Columbus Council and later became its Grand Knight. He was an early supporter of building a new church facility at Saint Michael's and was very successful in helping raise funds to build the new facility. He regularly contributed time and assisted in monitoring the construction of the new church with his fellow parishioner and dear friend, Mr. L.J. Langlois.
In addition to these contributions at Saint Michael's, A.B. was very instrumental in getting a Fourth Degree Council of the Knights of Columbus established at the church. His volunteer efforts won him many awards, including the Monsignor Anthony Piegay Assembly Order of Merit Award in 2003, a Top 100 Catholic Families in America award from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn., a Top Knight in the state of Louisiana Award and a Superior Performance Award from Saint Michael the Archangel Fourth Degree Council 2975 in 2006.
A.B. is survived by his daughter, Pamela Gayle Davis and husband Bruce Davis of Spring, Texas; his son, Stephen ""Craig"" Whitley and wife Jonette Whitley of Houston; six grandchildren, including Amanda Davis Land and husband Wes Land, Courtney Davis Burton, Scott Whitley, Katerina Whitley, John Whitley and wife Brenda, and Marina Whitley Mondragon and husband Jonathan; six great-grandchildren, including Alexia Whitley, Malynn Ward, Chloe Beth Burton, AnnMarie Land, Allison Mondragon and Benjamin Whitley; one sister, Clarice Rector and husband Jerome, and their children (nieces Deborah, Dottie and Donna Rector and nephews Thomas and Marty Rector); and numerous other nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Thomas and Cora Malora Whitley; and his loving wife of 62 years, Lou Whitley. He will be missed and loved by his family forever.
Funeral arrangements are being managed by Hixson Funeral Home in Leesville. Viewing times are from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Hixson Funeral Home of Leesville. Additional viewing and a wake service will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the funeral home. The Friday evening wake service will include a Catholic rosary at 6:30 p.m., that will last approximately 20 minutes, after which the wake service and viewing will continue to 8 p.m.
Mr. Whitley's funeral service will take place at 11 a.m, on Sept. 28 at Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, on 604 S. Fifth St. in Leesville. The Rev. Kenneth Michiels will preside over the service and funeral mass. Graveside services and burial will take place after the funeral at Mitchell Cemetery in Anacoco.
Published in Leesville Daily Leader on Sept. 26, 2013