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George Traver Whittle M.D.


1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
George Traver Whittle M.D. Obituary
George Traver Whittle, M.D.

AGE: 90 • Stuart

"Gone Sailing"

George Traver Whittle, 90, died at his home in Stuart, Florida on May 7, 2017, seven weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His wife, Gloria, son John and good friend, Joe Gemmell were with him Dr. Whittle was a gentleman, a gifted and caring surgeon, a respected sailor and a great raconteur. He practiced Urology in Monmouth County, NJ for almost 50 years.

He was born at home in Lakewood, NJ on January 1, 1927, and he spent his childhood between Akron, Ohio and Sag Harbor, NY. His parents later moved to "Cranmoor" on the bluffs of the Toms River in NJ. The home remained in the family until its sale in 2016. A graduate of Lakewood High School, he entered Princeton University at age 17, accelerating and graduating in 2 years, Class of '48. While there, he was a member of the Navy V-12 officer Candidate Program, captain of the intercollegiate sailing team and recipient of the esteemed Pyne Prize for academic excellence.

He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, again completing the program in two years, He received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton and medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania at the same time. His internship was at Graduate Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania and surgical residencies at the Bronx VA and Columbia Presbyterian Hospitals in New York. In 1952, he was called to active duty in the Navy and served as a doctor during the Korean War. Upon return, he moved to Long Branch, NJ with his first wife and there raised 4 children.

He maintained three offices in Monmouth County and served on the staff of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, NJ, Riverview Hospital, Red Bank, NJ and Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ. He started the first renal dialysis unit in central New Jersey. He performed lithotripsy surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, New Brunswick, NJ and was on the teaching staff of Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. He was a Diplomat of the American Board of Urology and elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Intellectually curious and always looking to stay abreast of new developments in medicine, he attended a symposium in Elsinore, Norway on Trans-gender identity. Upon return, at the request of Johns Hopkins University, The University of Minnesota and the UCLA Medical Center he volunteered to surgically treat six transsexual patients. This led to him becoming one of the leading surgeons of transsexuals in the country, completing both male to female and female to male. He commented that it was one of the most gratifying and challenging aspects of his medical career. This was a time of overwhelming adversity to addressing the problems of transsexuals, both by the public and the medical, profession. He and Gloria, compassionately and successfully counseled and treated many transsexuals, developing a rapport and friendship that lasted long after sexual reassignment.

In 1994, on his 67th birthday he married Gloria Eichhorn, his nurse since 1970 and his best friend. He was very proud of the fact that he had treated five generations of Gloria's family. They retired in 1995 and moved to Belmar, NJ, their summer home. They sailed to Florida and lived on the boat for two

winters. They bought a home in the Yacht and Country Club of Stuart, Fl. where new acquaintances soon become wonderful friendships. George took up golf, winning the Men's Nine Hole Championship.

They continued to sail back and forth from New Jersey to Florida, making several trips to the Bahamas.

Summers were spent cruising to Cape Cod and the Fall was spent cruising in the Chesapeake. Together, they explored the world, Car trips through Europe, sea planes in Australia, the luxury of the Orient Express to the fun of the Trans-Jamaican Railroad. Hot air ballooning and canal barging through France, and a rice barge through Malaysia and Burma. A camel on the Great Wall of China and on elephant through Thailand. Georges 65th birthday was celebrated with friends at the New Years Eve Ball in the Hapsburg Palace in Vienna. They were carried to the ball by a horse driven coach. Gloria even got to waltz with Rudolph Nureyev. There was always time for a visit to the art museums in the cities.

George was a voracious reader, focusing on military history and especially World War 11. His day was not complete without reading the Wall Street Journal followed by the comics. Never shy about expressing his strong opinions, especially politics and taxes conversations could be both stimulating and annoying. The depth and breadth of his knowledge about an enormous array of subjects never ceased to amaze those who were listening. He loved the opera and was an accomplished classical pianist, his favorite composer, Rachmaninoff. He and Gloria were former members of the Deal Golf and Country Club, Deal, NJ

George developed a love of flying at an early age . As a toddler, he would sit on his mothers lap when his father was flying Navy blimps. He obtained his private pilots license and was instrument rated. With Gloria as his co-pilot, they flew around the country, up to Canada, and down to the Bahamas. George always thought their cross country trip to California in their Cessna Cardinal was one of their best vacations.

George was a respected and excellent sailor. Surviving a ruptured appendix at age 10 (when he decided to become a surgeon) his parents bought him his first sailboat, a snipe named Sylph, and he won his first trophy on the Toms River in 1941. He shared his love for sailing to anyone who joined him, always sharing his knowledge He went on to compete in many races including Miami/Nassau, Block Island, Marble head/Halifax and Port Huron/Mackinac. He competed in 12 Newport/ Bermuda races. He also competed in his J-24 "BOOPS" and sailed in the world championships. Gloria's children, Kathy, Bonnie and Chip were often his crew. He was a founding member of the Patten Point Yacht Club in Long Branch, NJ, the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club and the Toms River Yacht Club. Although unable to sail in later years, he never gave up ownership of his beloved "Sylph" a one design custom 41 ' sloop, which was docked in front of their Belmar home.

His mother Marion Traver Whittle was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Academy of Fine Arts, and was an accomplished copyist of the great masters and painted both in the Cleveland Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Twenty seven of her originals on the life of Christ are copyrighted in Washington, DC.

His father, George Valentine Whittle went from 8th grade to college, The Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and received a masters degree from George Washington University. A career naval officer, he held 52 patents, including the first inflatable life raft and the Mae West life jacket designed for airships. George at age 4 was the first passenger to ride in the raft. Captain Whittle was an investigator of the air ship accidents, the Akron, the Macon and Shenandoah. Capt. Whittle made two crossings on the Hindenburg and was Commander of the base at Lakehurst, NJ when it crashed in 1937. George age 10 was on the field with his parents and friends to watch the landing and experienced the crash first hand. His mother immediately went to the infirmary to assist with the burn victims. She then used her lipstick to put a "M" on the foreheads of the patients who had been given morphine. Several years ago, Gloria and George were guests of the Zeppelin family in Friedrichshafen, Germany to visit the Airship Museum and tour the replica of the Hindenburg.

After retirement, Captain Whittle became Dean of Advanced Engineering at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, His cousin, Sir Frank Whittle is credited with being the developer of the jet airplane engine had his burial services in Westminster Abbey in London.

George is survived by his wife of 24 years, Gloria. His twin sons, John (Diane) sons, Luke and Drew, Charleston, SC, David (Wendy) daughters, Paige, Little Silver, NJ. Caity Bender, (Brian) of Maryland Also, a son, George Jr. and daughter , Ann and their families in NJ. In addition, Gloria's children, Kathy Herche (Don dec'd) Belmar and sons Jesse and Job, of Maryland, Bonnie (Frank) Liantonio, children Amy and Frank, Jr. Point Pleasant, NJ and Harry II ( Chip) wife Kelly of Shark River Hills, NJ and their daughter Sydney age 9, the apple of George's eye.

Surviving are cousins, nieces and nephews and a host of friends, including two special friends, caretakers of his Stuart, Fl. home, Mrs. Clarice Simmons and Mr. Arthur Carter. His remains will be with his parents and sister Marilyn (dec'd) 2010) at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC

A celebration of life will be held in the fall in Stuart, Fl.
Published in Asbury Park Press from May 9 to May 11, 2017
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