{ "" }
Share ROBERT's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
WHITBREAD ROBERT MILLER WHITBREAD Born on August 1, 1929 to Reginald and Gertrude Whitbread in New Haven, CT, passed away at his home on June 13, 2017. Loved by everyone who knew him, even those whose acquaintance was brief, he will forever be remembered for his love of sports (especially basketball), history, travel, our great country and, most of all, his family and friends. His kindness, intelligence, wit and gregarious nature will be profoundly missed. Bob graduated from Hillhouse High School in New Haven in '47. His agility and scoring prowess propelled his basketball team to the Connecticut State Championship from '43-'47 and to the New England State High School Championship in '46. For that accomplishment, he was recognized in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Following his successful high school career, he enrolled at Southern Connecticut University where he proceeded to break the basketball scoring record two years in a row ('48-49). Seeking increased opportunity, Bob transferred to Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he continued his athletic career on the basketball and softball teams. At Trinity, he found fellowship among his brothers in the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, and was elected president of the fraternity his senior year. He graduated from Trinity with a B.A. in History in '52. After college, Bob enlisted in the Army and spent three years in Berlin, Germany as part of the Counter Intelligence Corps. During his service in Berlin, he collected critical intelligence information in the emerging Cold War with the USSR. In 1955, he was selected for the CIA and embarked on a lifelong career in the service of his country. During his long career in the clandestine service of the Agency, Bob served in many critical positions, both overseas and at Langley Headquarters. In 1982, he was selected to serve as the Narcotics Intelligence Coordinator within the Office of the Vice President under George H. W. Bush as part of President Reagan's war on drugs. In this position, Bob was recognized for meritorious service. Completing his work with the Counter Narcotics Task Force, he returned to work for the Agency until his retirement in 2005. During his Agency career, Bob received multiple awards recognizing his service to America including the Award for Exceptional Achievement. Bob is predeceased by his wife and partner of 54 years, Harriett Jane Failor of Philadelphia, PA, who passed in March of 2011. He is survived by his children, Derek, Geoffrey and Kristen; his grandchildren, Mariah and Oak; and his great grandson, Lachlann. A memorial service will be held at Christ Church in Alexandria, VA on Friday, June 30, at 3 p.m. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Robert Whitbread's name to the CIA Officers' Memorial Foundation, PO Box 405, Herndon, VA 20172 (703-638-5378) or The Trinity College Fund, 300 Summit St, Hartford, CT 06106 (800-771-6184).In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Robert Whitbread's name to the CIA Officers' Memorial Foundation, PO Box 405, Herndon, VA 20172 (703-638-5378) or The Trinity College Fund, 300 Summit St, Hartford, CT 06106 (800-771-6184).

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Washington Post from Jun. 18 to Jun. 25, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Lynn Thomas
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
18 entries
July 4, 2020
Kristen-if you happen to see this message, would you please remember me to your brother Geoff. I became Geoff when he spent some time at the Staudermans house in Cranbury, NJ. After Geoff returned home to Vienna, I took a trip with Mrs Stauderman And Cheryl to deliver a goat. We were in a station wagon. The goat rode in the very back. The car broke down in DC and had to he towed! Quite the experience for an 8 year old. This was over 50 years ago. I have fond memories of Geoff and I still tell the goat story.
Bambi Barlow Walzer
Bambi Walzer
June 13, 2020
Dad, you well know there is never a day...
(Rereading what others wrote at the time brings me great pleasure three years hence. - Thank you to whomever else may see this.)
June 12, 2020
Drake still talks about the fun we had with you. You will never know, but you left a lasting impression on a young man.
Lynn Thomas
June 13, 2019
Yesterday was a glorious Vermont day reminding me of your spirit - today is grey and drizzly, a mirror of mine.
Love you Dad.
June 13, 2018
Feels like forever and only yesterday - just wishing you were here.
June 29, 2017
What a wonderful man Bob was - kind, caring, modest, always good-humored, smart, patriotic, and interesting. He was my first friend and mentor in the Agency, the first experienced Agency case officer to take an interest in me. I wish I had the chance to serve overseas with him since I am sure that no one could have possibly absorbed more of the culture, habits, and mindset of the "locals" of any country than Bob - to say nothing about mastering the local language. He was the perfect gentleman for carrying out the duties of a diplomat but just as skilled as a case officer in conducting the business of the clandestine service. It is no wonder that modest Bob (or "Whit" to many) never wrote about his service in the Agency, both because of his modesty but more importantly because of his respect for the required secrecy of our unique Agency business and the privacy oath we all signed. I sure wish we had more guys in our service like Bob, who was content to go about his business with dignity, professionalism, and its necessary secrecy to protect those who really put their lives on the line. My hat is off to you Bob. I will miss you very much but am happy you are reunited with your wonderful Harriett. Thanks for being such a good friend and colleague. God Bless. Glenn
(P.S. I sure wish you had shared all your incredible basketball exploits with me Bob, but what could I expect from such a modest guy.)
Glenn Adams
June 23, 2017
My sincere condolences to Bob's family. I will miss his smile and our humorous jousting waiting for OLLI history classes to start. Godspeed, my friend!
Paul Howard
June 21, 2017
Good times in Boca...
Lynn Thomas
June 20, 2017
Bob was a good friend and neighbor yes indeed he spoke German he would say to me when ever we ran into each other "Küss die Hand gnädige Frau" it was such a formal greeting and brought a smile on one's face. We shared memories of Berlin since we both knew the city and loved it. I shalll miss him as my good friend. Condolences to his children relatives and close friends, he was a unique and one of a kind person. Speedy trip to Walhalla.....
Lydia-Minota Boulton
June 19, 2017
I only knew Whit for a few years. I am a fellow Bedlington breeder and met him through Linda. I always enjoyed stopping by and having conversation with Whit and Harriet. Truly a wonderful man with a great sense of humor.
June 19, 2017
Whitsie, You are so wonderful and so amazing and will forever be a part of my life, of my family's life. We will some day venture to Antartica so that Kate James and Caroline can see the penguins in memory of you!
Always, Laura
Laura Reilly
June 19, 2017
Whit never met anyone except new friends. He was open friendly and interested. He had a an unerring sense of direction. His first day in Boca he found the only German restaurant within 150 miles. Never lost his car in a 5000 acre lot! All without consulting GPS or any app.

Whit's world was constantly expanding. He signed up every semester at OLLI George Mason or Florida Atlantic University. Took all courses in History, any period any country. Current affairs and Presidential history were never missed. He had the courage to travel to Antartica a few years ago, because he wanted to see all 7 continents!

He read German language newspapers, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. The Post for sports section as he was an avid knowledgeable fan of the Nationals. He didn't miss a single spring training game in West Palm Beach.

One day Whit was conversing, in German, with a woman who had emigrated from Frankfort to US at 30. She asked Whit when he had left Berlin. His accent was that good!!

Whit's service as a case officer was dear to him. He clearly had had a rich , varied and sometimes dangerous career. He had worked behind the Iron Curtain, helped rescue students out of Communist Poland. Many times people asked him to write about his career, he'd smile and say "I took an oath."

He credited his interest in history as genetic. His dad emigrated from England. And he spent his childhood a devoted member of Trinity Church New Haven where clergy encouraged basketball and history; and made it possible for him to matriculate at Trinity College, where in addition to history, he learned to love classical music and art history.

A dear, wonderful man who by example made all of those who knew him happier, friendlier people.
Ginny Hammell
June 18, 2017
A man as fine as Whit is very hard to find. His honesty and integrity are not easily come by. His quick whit and gregarious nature were what made him so special to so many. I will always remember his loving devotion to Harriett and his children. My thoughts and prayers are with his family in this sorrowful time. Rest in Peace, my friend.
Linda Timmerman
June 18, 2017
Dear, dear Whit, the world has lost a unique man of integrity and we have lost a budding friendship that we cherished. We will never forget our initial meeting when you looked me square in the eye and asked, "Are you a Republican or Democrat?" That was a first! We are still laughing about it. Our differences didn't matter; we rose above them and enjoyed all your stories and experiences, your wisdom and knowledge of history, and our perfect venue--our daily five o'clock happy hour on the intracoastal. We were so hoping for a repeat performance next year but we will have to be satisfied with wonderful memories of a true gentleman, good sport and fun-loving heart. Our love, our blessings, Ann, Ken and Duffy
Ann, Ken, Duffy Thorsten
June 18, 2017
May we all meet again in Eternity to listen again, as we did all Winter to your wonderful hisyory lessons, while sipping our Saltwater Cocktails and watching God's glorious sunsets! Bless you dear Whit, I feel so fortunate to have met you!
Jan Lafferty
June 18, 2017
Another "Whitsie" memory. In the spring, snapping turtles would migrate into the Whitbread 's pond. One year, Whit caught a particularly large female and they decided to just move her upstream enough to never come back. Whit decides to drive her over to Wolf Trap Park and deposit her in the creek behind the parking lot. He's just carrying her through the woods when he hears sirens. Cops had been stacking out the park. He's standing there with this damn big turtle as cops come running up to him. He had fun talking his way out of that one. Harriett and I got a good laugh out of it.
Linda Freeman
June 18, 2017
I have a fun memory. Many years ago, Harriett gave Niles a bunch of Whit's custom made shirts. They were really nice custom shirts, but they didn't fit Whit any more, but they fit Niles. So, we were looking at them and discovered that Whit's initials were embroidered on the sleeves. Niles said, "That's ok. Doesn't bother me." So, we are going out to dinner and Niles puts on one of Whit's shirts. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Niles had used an ink pin and written, "Jr" behind Whit's initials. Flattened me. I can still see the smirk on Harriett's face when I told her about it.
Linda Freeman
June 18, 2017
My thoughts are with the family of Robert Whitbread during this difficult time. I hope that the promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 can bring comfort. Knowing that there is a hope for our loved ones lost in death can be reassuring.
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences