7 entries
  • "Phyllis and her husband, Les have been friends of my family..."
    - Catherine Stern O'Brien
  • "We will miss this wonderful lady."
    - Charlie Browning
  • "I went over to the Whitten house to play with Daniel when..."
    - David Gayer
  • "Phyllis has always been the kindest neighbor on our block...."
    - Pat Wilbert
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Died peacefully Wednesday, January 11, 2017. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, genealogist, gardener and early childhood learning advocate. Born in Schaefferstown, PA on August 6, 1928, upon graduation from Myerstown High School, she entered Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, earning an Education History degree in 1950. In the following years, she worked with disadvantaged preschool children at the Henry Street settlement in New York City in what would become a lifelong passion for her. She married her husband for life, Leslie Hunter Whitten, Jr. on November 11, 1951 in Paris, France before moving to the Washington area in 1959. As the longtime director of Suburban Nursery School, Phyllis was an educator of and an inspiration to young children, serving as teacher and director from 1973 until 1993. Her former students continued to visit and bring their own children to meet the beloved Miss Phyllis. In 1996 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Maryland Council of Parent Participant Nursery Schools (MCPPNS). An active parishioner and Deacon of St. Columba's, she helped launch a reading program at Truesdale Elementary School, mentoring kindergarteners as they advanced through the grades and providing scholarships. Many went on to earn college degrees, proving her belief in the importance of early childhood development. For this, she was recognized by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington as a vital contributor to the community. Phyllis and Les loved opera and ballet and attended many stage productions as patrons of the arts. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Leslie H. Whitten, Jr. of Hillhaven, Adelphi MD; her three sons, Leslie H. Whitten, III, Catonsville, MD, Andrew C. Whitten, Scottsdale, AZ and Daniel L. Whitten, Bethesda, MD; and five grandchildren, Olivia Linnore, Siera Isabelle, Elena Hunter, Hunter Clement and Ethan James Whitten. A service for Phyllis will be held at St. Columba's Church in Washington on February 24 at 11 a.m., followed by a reception in the parish hall. An interment at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Myerstown, PA will be the following day, February 25 at 12:30 p.m.

Religious Service Information
St Columba's Episcopal Church
4201 Albemarle St NW
Washington, DC 20016
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Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 5, 2017