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James and Emmy Whitaker


1922 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
1922 - 2010/2015
The ashes of James and Emmy Whitaker, in accordance with their final wishes, will be scattered across the Pacific Ocean. Separated five years ago by death, Jim and Emmy spent much of their 63 years by the seashore, and it was their desire to return there together one day.
Emmy Link Whitaker died at their home in Newport Beach October 27, 2010. She was born November 24, 1922 in Wiesbaden, Germany. James Gordon Whitaker, also an only child, was a third-generation Californian, born August 19, 1922 in Anaheim where he grew up. His grandfather, James A. Whitaker founded the city of Buena Park which would eventually become part of the county of Orange.
Emmy was educated and received her baccalaureate in Wiesbaden, but was a lifelong learner, taking college courses well into her forties. Jim enlisted in the Army during World War II. He met Emmy while stationed in Wiesbaden working in communications. At the time, the Americans had occupied Germany and Emmy was an English and French interpreter. The pair fell in love, the war ended, and Jim returned to the United States. Emmy followed shortly thereafter and they were married on February 13, 1947 in Billings, Montana. After residing in Wyoming and Connecticut, the newlyweds headed west to reside in Los Angeles.
Jim graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Like his wife, he would continue his education, focusing on the languages of German and Spanish.
Jim's first job with the County of Los Angeles was in the Probation Department. He held a number of positions in various departments within LA County until his retirement in 1980, most notably working at a boys youth camp in Malibu, manning the LA County Jail during the infamous Watts Riots and court work during high profile cases. In the 1960's Jim joined a 12 step recovery program and gained enormous respect and empathy for those struggling with addictions. He would spend a decade working with drug and alcohol offenders as well.
Jim and Emmy were happiest close to the ocean. In 1963 they moved to the Balboa Peninsula where they resided until Emmy's passing in 2010. They relished living at the beach and spent many summer days on the sand and in the surf. When they weren't beachcombers, they indulged in their passions: Jim was a train enthusiast and an avid bridge player. Emmy adored sewing, knitting, gardening, and practiced yoga for four decades. Together they appreciated good food and jazz music, and read anything they could get their hands on.
Since neither Jim nor Emmy had any siblings, the Whitakers' family circle was filled with members of their 'Frambly' - dear friends of all ages and walks of life with whom they and their two children celebrated holidays and other family gatherings. Emmy was fond of saying "there's always room for one more at the dinner table."
Jim passed away July 23, 2015 at the Grove at Rosewood in Bakersfield. During the couple's years in Kern County they owned a house on La Cresta Drive near their daughter and grandsons, and were involved with the 60 Plus Club at CSUB.
The cornerstone of their life together was their children, grandchildren and the love they had for one another. Jim and Emmy are survived by their son Gerald 'Jerry' Whitaker and his wife Kathy, their daughter Lisette Whitaker Stinson, Ben Stinson, and their grandchildren Zachary Whitaker, Adrien McGoon and her husband Kevin, Cyrus Stinson, Mark Stinson, and their great granddaughter Hazel McGoon.
Heartfelt appreciation to Nicole Phillips, the 'Best Friends', and Jim's extended family at the Grove in Rosewood. Know that you were a vital part of Jim's last two vibrant and thriving years at the Grove.
In lieu of flowers, their memory may be honored with a donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - www.aspca.org/donate; Valley Public Radio - 3437 W. Shaw Ave #101, Fresno, CA 93711; or the 60 Plus Club at Cal State University Bakersfield - 9001 Stockdale Highway 53AW, Bakersfield, CA 93311.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 30, 2015
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