Harold S. Whitehurst|
Virginia Beach - Harold Shipp Whitehurst died on April 13, 2012 of congestive heart failure at Virginia Beach General Hospital. He was 84 years old, a lifelong resident of the Tidewater area.
He was born in Norfolk Virginia on May 17, 1927, to Hattie Pauline Widgeon and John Alfred Whitehurst. Harold graduated from Maury High School in 1946. After serving his country during World War II in the US Coast Guard, he received an A.B degree from William and Mary College, as well as B.S. and Masters degrees from East Carolina University. While at East Carolina, he played varsity baseball. He enjoyed a lifelong love of sports and physical activity, building his career and legacy on that interest. In fact, he even had a summer job during high school as recreation director for summer playground activities.
His career began teaching physical education in the Princess Anne County school system. He coordinated physical education for Princess Anne County until 1960 when he became the Director of Parks, Recreation & Physical Education for the City of Virginia Beach. As the city grew, he moved to focus solely on Parks and Recreation and became the inaugural Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Director in 1974. He served Virginia Beach in this position until his retirement in October of 1991. He was also an instructor in recreation for Tidewater Community College and the University of Virginia.
During his career Harold oversaw the early development and rapid expansion of the Virginia Beach park system. Over the years he was recognized with numerous awards for the creation of youth programming and development of unique parks. Some examples of the Virginia Beach facilities developed under his leadership are Mt. Trashmore; Red Wing and Bow Creek Golf Courses; Owl Creek Tennis Facility and the Kempsville and Great Neck Recreation Centers. His professional legacy is a thriving Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation program accessible to all members of the community.
Harold held many leadership positions and received a number of awards.
In 1981 he was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the National Congress of Parents and Teachers in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to improve the quality of life for children and youth." He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America; the Golden Olympics of Virginia and the Joseph P Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.
He was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. He also served as President of the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education & Recreation.
Harold married Dorothy Potlas in 1955 and had two daughters, Ellen and Diane, both of Northern Virginia. He and Dorothy raised their family with an abiding faith in God and he served his Lord with steadfast commitment, teaching Sunday School and providing leadership as a Deacon. Harold's community service extended to his membership in the Virginia Beach Rotary Club.
Harold is survived by his wife, Dorothy, Ellen and Stephen Ashurkoff, Diane Whitehurst Draper, and three grandchildren; Savannah Draper, Phoebe Draper, and Marina Ashurkoff, as well as his brothers, Russell P. Whitehurst and Judge Alfred W. Whitehurst. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 300 36th Street, Virginia Beach, on Monday, April 16 at 3 p.m. with Reverend Albert Butzer and Reverend Caroline Jinkins officiating. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Burial will be private. Contributions in his memory may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Laskin Road is handling arrangements.
Published in The Virginian Pilot from Apr. 14 to Apr. 16, 2012