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Brown Whitaker

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Brown Whitaker Obituary
Brown Whitaker


Brown Whitaker, 88, of Napa, passed away at home on January 18, 2016 following health issues. He leaves behind the love of his life, Lou, wife of 56 years, two daughters, Susan and Catherine, a son, Steve, and five grandchildren.

Brown was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, the son of two term Colorado State Senator, E.A. Whitaker and Sally Brown Whitaker. He graduated from high school at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri. He then attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and graduated from Colorado A&M in Fort Collins.

He served in the Air Force during the Korean War and was based in Japan. Following his service discharge, he was employed by Union Oil in San Francisco. A peninsula transfer led him to Palo Alto, later owning his service station in Los Altos. While living there during the early 60's, Brown and Lou began taking dance classes with neighbors, just for fun, never realizing teaching dancing would become a 40 year career.

After being trained as professional dancers and teachers, they started cruising on APL (American President Lines). This led to a 20 year cruising career around the world, hosting, teaching and performing on world class ships. In between cruises, Brown and Lou taught their ballroom dance classes at Stanford University, Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, where they resided, and other peninsula locations.

Brown's love for boats never waned. After purchasing an ocean going yacht, they moved to River Park on the water in Napa in 1982. He enjoyed many coastal sea voyages. As working cruises came to an end, multiple personal pleasure cruises on various cruise lines continued, Holland America Line favored. Of all their ports of call, Hawaii was the favorite and spent every March on Maui until recently. Because of the love of teaching, they resumed their popular ballroom dance classes at Napa Valley College, for 20 years, with an average of 100 students per class. Dancing with "The Whitaker's" was just plain fun!

After moving to Napa, the wine industry became another interest. Brown attended a wine education course at NVC, which resulted in employment as a winery representative at Inglenook Napa Valley. After the closing of Inglenook, he was employed at Beaulieu Vineyards. His natural rapport, humor and teaching ability made for a huge success in the wine industry. Brown also had a love for music. His large collection included "Big Band" Vintage/Classical Jazz, "Old Hawaiian" and contemporary easy listening.

Brown did it all! He fulfilled all his passions and dreams. He will be remembered as one classy, handsome, strong man, admired for his honesty, great joke telling and a gracious host. His presence will be truly missed!

Treadway & Wigger is serving the family. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Napa Valley. Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Paul Sweigert and the caring staff of 'Your Home.'

The celebration of Brown's life will be held at a later date.

Published in The Coloradoan from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2016
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