ST. ALBANS/GEORGIA — John C. Whitney, a longtime resident of Franklin County, WWII veteran, and lifelong dairy farmer, passed away Monday, May 5, 2014, shortly after arrival at Northwestern Medical Center.
Born in Hanover, N.H., on Jan. 1, 1927, he was the son of the late John Willard and Madge Marion (Daniels) Whitney. John was 87 years old. John was an honor student at Kimball Union Academy when he quit school during his senior year to defend his country in World War II. After the war, he used the GI bill to attend and graduate from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in dairy husbandry. The friendships he established at UNH were lifelong.
On Sept. 5, 1953, John eloped in West Bridgewater, Mass., with Ina “Louise” Wilder, whose “joie de vivre” brought immeasurable light to his life, and to everyone around her. They were married in secret by John’s cousin, Reverend Ronald Whitney. From then on, John embraced his wife’s two sisters and four “Wilder” brothers as his own. Louise passed away on Sept. 5, 2002, on their 49th wedding anniversary. She is grieved still.
John always introduced himself as a dairy farmer from Georgia, Vt. He traveled extensively, at home and abroad, both in the military and out, including a recent trip to England to visit his niece, Kathleen Cassedy, of whom he was especially proud. John was a longtime member of the Georgia Plain Baptist Church, Franklin Lodge # 4, F&AM. He was a Georgia Volunteer Fireman, an influential member of the Vermont State Guard, and Vermont Republican Party, and held in his lifetime many elected positions. His greatest dedication was for Georgia Plain Baptist Church, whose membership has been forever enriched by his wisdom and devotion. He believed investment in the church’s Christian Education programs to be a perennial blessing to the country and the world.
John’s survivors include his son Warren Whitney and his wife, Patricia, of St. Albans; his daughters, Carolyn Branagan and her husband, Christopher, of Georgia; Deb Grennon and her husband, Jeff, of Franklin; daughter-in-law, Debra Whitney, of Franklin; and his sister, Mary Whitney Cassedy of Plainfield, N.H., along with several nieces and nephews.
John is also survived by his grandchildren, Dr. Amy Branagan DiBona and her husband, Stephen, and their daughter, Emily; Dr. Sean Branagan and his wife, Dr. Carolyn Rodak-Branagan; Mary Maeve Branagan; Gerald Whitney and his fiancé, Amanda Wilson, and their daughter, Abigail; Megan Reynolds and her husband, Paul, and their two sons, Beau and Jackson; Lydia Strider and her husband, David; Katelin Whitney and her partner, Pat Jones; Dr. James Stafford and his wife, Dr. Allison Anacker-Stafford; Whitney Grennon Craig and her wife, Julie Craig; Hallie Elizabeth Grennon; Charlie Jeffrey Grennon and his son, Bentley; Cyrus John Grennon; David Whitney, and his wife, Anne, and daughter Maya; and Thomas Whitney. John is remembered by friends too numerous to count.
In addition to his parents and wife, Louise, John was preceded in death by his son, John Carl Whitney on July 9, 1995, whose passion for living matched his mother’s.
Many kindnesses were extended to John in the last weeks of his life. The family would like to thank Dr. Frank Zsoldos, the staff of Pillsbury Homestead and especially Audra Albertus, whose skill in individual care and pleasant manner made our father comfortable.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main Street, St. Albans. Franklin Lodge # 4, F& AM will conduct their ritualistic service at the funeral home at 7 p.m.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, May 9 at 11 a.m. in the Georgia Plain Baptist Church, Stonebridge Road, Georgia. Interment with military honors will follow in the family lot in the Georgia Plain Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in John’s name may be made the Georgia Plain Baptist Church, “Roof Project” 2573 Plain Road, Milton, Vermont 05468. Messages of condolence are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com.