USAF Ret. Edwin Joseph Whitney
On February 11, 2021, Edwin Joseph Whitney, 89, of Aurora, Colorado, passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side. Ed is survived by his wife, Kathy Whitney; his brother Orion Whitney; and his children Sheri DeWitt, Eric Whitney, Debbie Frericks, Steve Loving, and Sid Loving. He is also survived by his grandchildren Kristen and Whitney DeWitt and Addison and Olivia Whitney. Also included are many nieces and nephews from this large, caring family.
Ed was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1931 to Mary Phillips Whitney and EW Whitney, who died in 1986 and 1956, respectively. He grew up in a large family of 5 brothers and sisters and two step-brothers. Before him, the sisters Mary Ella McKinney, Naomi Hadaway and Ruth Forrester died. Half-brothers Paul and Richard Moye; and Shirley Whitney, his first wife.
Ed graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1949. He played the bugle and marched into the school band. He graduated from Valedictorian and gave the closing speech. Ed attended Oklahoma University and graduated from Cum Laude in 1953. This, of course, made him a “die-hard” fan of Sooner that stretched into his later life. Ed and his wife, Kathy, attended almost all home football games in Oklahoma for 32 years. Boomer Sooner was a common scream in their home during football season!
Ed joined the United States Air Force straight out of college. He was trained as a fighter pilot in Moultrie, Georgia, followed by further training at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas. Shortly after the hostilities in the Korean War ended, he was stationed at the US Air Force Base in Nagoya, Japan, and at the time was flying the F-86F over the Sea of Japan. Ed left the active Air Force in 1956 and joined the Tulsa National Guard. He was in active service and in the reserves for 25 years. Ed flew to CARITAS Internationalis for three months in 1969 to provide food for the victims of the Biafra War during the Nigerian Civil War. Flights only flew at night and the landing lights were only switched on shortly before landing to avoid detection by the enemy. During the Vietnam War with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, he flew supplies for an orphanage in Da Nang to Vietnam. There in Da Nang, Ed met his brother, who was stationed there with the US Air Force. In 1966 Ed joined United Airlines as a flight instructor, control pilot and intermittent airline pilot. Some of the planes he flew were the DC-6, DC-8, and DC-10. He retired in 1991 after 25 years. He was an excellent pilot and took great pride in serving his country in the military and flying for United Airlines.
Ed graduated from Tulsa University with a law degree in 1956. For many years he successfully ran his family’s oil leasing business. In everything he did, Ed was self-determined and worked hard.
Ed was an excellent athlete and played on the Oklahoma College Varsity Tennis Team. After that, he played tennis with friends and family all his life. He loved golfing and fishing, and traveling a lot with family and friends. Ed’s family was musical and enjoyed singing hymns and other favorite old songs. And Ed was a great piper! He also loved reading the Bible and poetry. His mother had given him at least four Bibles with loving inscriptions over the years.
Ed was a good friend to many and over the years tried to help both family and friends. Ed loved to laugh and enlivened many opportunities wherever he went. His humor was at times known to be really unconventional. And he made a great bartender at parties!
Ed and his wife, Kathy, were married for almost 40 years. They lived active and increasingly loving lives. The energy of his life will be remembered and missed by all who knew him. A memorial service at the grave will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Memorial Park Cemetery, 5111 S. Memorial Drive, Tulsa, OK.
Monuments can be directed to the Denver Alzheimer Association and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Published by Tulsa World on May 16, 2021.