Paul Herlinger
Paul HERLINGER In memory of Paul Herlinger 1929 ~ 2010 Paul Herlinger was born in New York City on May 1, 1929. He passed away peacefully at his home in Tacoma on Feb. 2, 2010. Paul Herlinger's greatest loves were his wife and family, classical music, theater, his career as a radio-TV producer and actor, and the Pacific Northwest where he was truly "at home" since moving here in 1956. Paul knew he would be a broadcaster from the time he was a high school student at New York's Stuyvesant High School. Chosen to attend an all-city radio workshop, Paul soon discovered he not only had a talent for radio-TV producing, but he was also blessed with a golden voice which he would use throughout his career as an actor in radio dramas and as a narrator for scores of documentaries and commercials. But New York City couldn't keep Paul. After two years at New York University he left to serve in the U. S. Marine Corps. and then attended the University of Michigan to finish his radio-TV schooling, earning a Master of Arts degree. There, he also met and fell in love with Ilona Planken, whom he married on September 1, 1956. Rather than returning east, he and his new bride drove an old grey Plymouth to Seattle and started a life in a land that he knew would be a refreshing alternative to the Big Apple. Settling in Tacoma, he indulged his love for the great outdoors. While working for KTNT-TV (1956-67) and KCPQ-TV (1967-1980), he pursued skiing, hiking, and mountain climbing (twice scaling Mt. Rainier), and even fused his passion for the environment with his work, producing documentaries on such important regional topics as whether the Nisqually Delta should be preserved as a wildlife refuge or become a supertanker port, and the controversy surrounding the old Tacoma smelter. Paul and his wife traveled extensively in Europe and the two teamed up to produce several seasons of TV travelogues called "Blue Horizons," broadcast locally on KTNT-TV (1965-72). Paul's voice gave him special distinction. He was called upon to narrate regional and national documentaries, had numerous commercial clients, appeared in radio dramas, and for more than 10 years, until recently, played the leading role of John Avery Whittaker in the radio drama series "Adventures in Odyssey", earning him fans worldwide. Most importantly, Paul Herlinger is remembered by his family as a man of peace and humility who genuinely believed in the goodness of the human spirit, who always had a listening ear and a word of encouragement, and who truly lived the words he taught his three children: to treat others the way you would want them to treat you. Paul Herlinger is survived by his loving wife, Ilona of 53 years; children, Mark, Teresa, and Glenn; and five grandchildren. At the family's request, there will be no services. A celebration of Paul's life is planned for a later date. Memorial donations may be directed to Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care, PO Box 1502, Tacoma WA 98401, the National Wildlife Federation, or Nature Conservancy. Please sign ouronline guestbook at
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Published by The Seattle Times from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2010.
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40 Entries
I will forever cherish the precious memories I have of listening to Paul as John Avery Whitaker on Adventures in Odyssey. The world has lost a wonderful man.
Geoff Polinder
November 12, 2011
Dear Herlinger Family~
Thank you for sharing your husband, father, and grandfather with us for all these years. May God bless you all with a continuous peace.
Jenn Bailey
July 30, 2011
i listen to adventures in odyssey all the time. i always loved Mr. Whitaker's voice. It was perfect for the part. i decided to look up Mr. Whitaker's real name and i found out about his death. im so sorry. He must have been a very cool guy. good to know he's having a party with Jesus!
Megan Platte, age 12
July 3, 2011
Paul was a colleague of mine. As local broadcasters in Tacoma, our paths crossed from time to time. We had many similarities. I had great respect for his professional work as a broadcaster.
His voice quality was outstanding for the many kinds of opportunities that came his way. He was a true gentleman. Paul was also highly regarded for his experience and achievements. I am saddened that he has passed on.
Roger Allen
March 27, 2011
Hi to The Herlinger Family, I am new to Adventures in Odyssey series and I was just updated in the series just today and was very sadden about Feb 2nd, 2010 and being a Lutheran Christian I listen everyday and I wanted to send my reguards to his family as listening to the series and he was an amazing guy and will be remembered by me and a new person listening online

Ashley Johnson
The Dalles,Oregon 97058
Ashley Johnson
March 26, 2011
Paul will be missed by many. Though I didn't get to hear the AiO series, I do remember, fondly, the voice of his many characters, as we read scripts aloud with other theater fans, in living rooms across Pierce County. Every one of those evenings were special. All our best to Ilona, Mark, Teresa, and Glenn.
James Larrison
February 6, 2011
My condolences to Mr. Herlinger's family. We have been listening for years to Adventures in Odyssey and recently realized Whit's voice was different. We loved the loving, gentle, grandfatherly voice that shared such Godly wisdom with the people of Odyssey and all of us listeniing...He will be missed. God Bless.
MB Sweeley
March 6, 2010
Dick Barr
March 4, 2010
We will miss Paul so very much. We enjoyed seeing him with Ilona every 6 weeks or so, with him talking with our cats, making over them and always smiling - a wonderful man who will not be forgotten
Sara Seeger
February 24, 2010
Paul will be greatly missed. I thoroughly enjoyed his acting in the Adventures in Odyssey series... God bless you Paul in your new home with God. Goodbye Whit, you will be missed...
Calvin Fergins
February 22, 2010
Goodbye Paul aka "Whit"
Sarah lall
February 21, 2010
I knew and admired Paul many, many years ago when we were both members of the All City Radio Workshop in Brooklyn, New York...a training ground for many of us who later made careers in broadcasting. Paul was always a standout, his deep voice and sensitive presentation was a model for us all. We later went on to pursue the field, on radio and later television. I for one joined public TV and later CBS News but always remembered Paul and the others who showed me the way so long ago. The profession and our lives are bereft at his passing, a reminder that mortality is fleeting but memories sustain a person long after the life they knew has moved on.
Mitchell Krauss
February 20, 2010
I only knew Pail from Adventures in odyssey, but i knew he was an awesome man!
R. R.
February 20, 2010
Paul was an outstanding broadcast personality. It was my pleasure to know him profesionally at the former KTNT-11 and later at Clover Park VTI when KCPQ-13 was a public broadcast station. He was a very talented individual who was modest, sincere and "gunuine" in frienship and character. I was happy to know him as a really good man and friend. He will be missed. May our Lord comfort his many friends and family.. Bob Piatt, DesMoines,Wa.
Bob Piatt
February 14, 2010
I was very sad to hear about Paul's death. I have known Paul for many years professionally and enjoyed meeting with him. He was always sincere, positive, professional and had a wonderful sense of humor. I will miss not seeing him at the next meeting. May fond memories of him comfort you at this time. My thoughts are with you.

Lore Belcher
Lore Belcher
February 13, 2010
We will miss his voice and spirit greatly. But we are comforted by the fact that our Heavenly Father has welcomed him into His arms. Praying for peace and comfort, on the Herlinger family and all of his countless friends.
helen heard
February 13, 2010
Although I only knew of Paul as the character of "John Avery Whittaker", he was a like a very close personal friend, someone that I wanted to listen to and learn from. I never tired of listening to him on the AIO programs. I've listened to him from the re-union of Whit and Connie on the his very first AIO broadcast. He was very special. I'm praying for the Herlinger family at this time of loss. Please look to God for your comfort, as He is THE source for comfort. Thank you for sharing Paul's talents with the world. We are a better place for knowing him. Be blessed.
Mike Blane
February 12, 2010
May the God of all comfort carry you through this time of pain. Mr. Herlinger's memory will live on in our hearts while he lives on with his Lord!
Shannon Shelton
February 11, 2010
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Gwen Shelton
February 11, 2010
Paul all odyssey fans loved you and will miss you. many tears were shed over your passing. Goodbye Paul aka "Whit"
Grant Lawson
February 11, 2010
Your voice warmed my life. Thanks so much Paul,
Jessica Dowell
February 11, 2010
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Paul Herlinger. He was a true gentleman and a rare professional. I enjoyed working with him and I will miss him.
David Persson
February 10, 2010
It is sad to hear of Paul's death. He was a genuine, warm and fun man with an enormous heart and talent. You could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. Our family's thoughts and prayers are with you. Steve and Nancy Malott and Family
February 9, 2010
It is sad to hear of Paul's death. He was a genuine, warm and fun man with an enormous heart and talent. You could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. Our family's thoughts and prayers are with you. Steve and Nancy Malott and Family
February 9, 2010
Paul was a wonderful talent, and a gracious man. He was always cheerful, always professional, and simply warmed the room with his quiet good cheer. He was an unassuming inspiration. I'm graced for having known and worked with him.
Bob Zenk
February 9, 2010
I worked with Paul when we used his great voice for a multi-image production. Wonderful guy, amazing talent. He will be missed.
Karl Bischoff
February 9, 2010
I was so saddened to hear of Paul's passing. I respected him greatly for his talents and abilities, but even more so for his warmth and humility. My thoughts go out to Ilona and their children and I know that Paul's memory will bring blessings to all.
Steve Lawson
February 9, 2010
We were all blessed by Mr. Herlinger's presence as a patient. His kind and gentle way will greatly missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Herlinger & family.
Dr. R Stuart Schwartz & Staff
February 9, 2010
My first encounter with Paul Herlinger was being hired as a very junior camera operator in 1975 at Multi Media Productions in Seattle. WOW 35 years ago!

I had the privilege of working with Paul on many commercials and industrials over the next 15 or 20 years, as I honed my skills as a cameraman. His skills as talent were well honed from long before we first met!

I have missed hearing his always recognizable voice on KPLU in recent years.

Marty Oppenheimer
February 9, 2010
From 1986 to 1991 I worked in the sound dept. of Telemation Prod in Seattle. I had the privilege of recording numerous VO sessions with Paul. I always looked forward to working with Paul & enjoyed his skill, intelligence, humor & gentle charm. He had a presence as deep as his voice. He'll be missed!
Gordon Glascock
February 9, 2010
What a blessing Paul Herlinger was to all us Odyssey fans.
February 9, 2010
I am so sorry to hear that!!!!! I have so many Adventures in Odyssey cds with Paul as Whit. One of the funniest Whit scenes was during the Novacom saga and Alex freaked out about Nick putting nuts on his Sundae and whit was like, "whaaa?" I'd never heard Whit sound so....clueless before. I always giggle at that moment. We'll miss you, Paul!
joanna davis
February 8, 2010
Oh man. I just found out about this and am very saddened. However I am glad to know he's going to be in Heaven. He kept Mr. Whitaker alive for so long. I feel like crying, it's as if I've lost an adopted grandfather.
Timothy Reynolds
February 8, 2010
I will miss Paul greatly. He taught me, through his role as John Avery Whittaker, how to be a good listener to my children, to let them know how very important they are to me at all times, how to be kind, gentle, and loving, but most importantly, how to guide them through the use of Scripture. His legacy will live on through Adventures in Odyssey, but he will be greatly missed.
Deneen Roberts
February 8, 2010
I used to fall asleep every night listening to his voice as Mr.Whitaker. Even though that wasn't really him, his voice gave me comfort. The Lord used him in a great way. He will be missed by me and my family.
Teal Russell
February 8, 2010
I will miss Paul greatly. He kept Whit alive and made him like a grandfather to me.
February 8, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Dick Barr
February 8, 2010
I have known Paul and Ilona for over 15 years as members of AFTRA and as friends. Paul's talent and gentle caring nature will be greatly missed. My sincere sympathies to Ilona and to the family he was so fond of and cared so much about.
Ina Novak
February 8, 2010
Dear Herlinger Family,

May your beloved dad soar with the angels. May his exemplary life and courageous spirit continue to inspire each of us to follow our passions and by doing so, make this world a better place.
Suellen Primost
February 7, 2010
I have been blessed by working with Paul and knowing him as a friend. He has shown much kindness to my grandchildren who knew him as "Whit." He will be missed greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with Ilona and his family - David Selvig
February 7, 2010
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