Obituary : Warren T. Whitley
Warren Thomas Whitley, who first came to know the Vineyard as a Coast Guardsman patrolling the South Beach shoreline during World War II and later spent more than 50 summers on the Island with his wife and family, died in Edgartown on December 22 with his family by his side after a long illness. He was 86 years old and the husband of Eleanor S. Whitley.
Like hundreds of other mainland servicemen during the war, Mr. Whitley first came to Martha's Vineyard on duty. He was stationed on the Island from 1943 to 1945 and lived part of the time at Pohogonot, a large family farm on the south shore of the Island in Edgartown.
While Mr. Whitley served on the Vineyard, Eleanor Schweitzer, his fiancé, came to visit him with her mother. It was Miss Schweitzer's first visit to the Vineyard, and the Island so enchanted the couple that when the Whitleys were married in 1945, they spent their honeymoon in Edgartown. After visiting the Vineyard for a few years, Mr. and Mrs. Whitley built a summer home on Oakdale Drive and spent the next 55 summers there.
Warren Thomas Whitley was born Sept. 16, 1923, in New Jersey and received a Bachelors of Science degree and an MBA from Rutgers University. He was employed by both Coastal Oil and Asarco in New York City, and in 1977 Mr. and Mrs. Whitley moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he became president of Capco, Inc., a pipe manufacturing company from which he retired in 1989. He served on several corporate and industry association boards, including Centurion Corp., where he served for more than 50 years.
Always a tennis player, Mr. Whitley could be found three or four mornings a week during the summer playing doubles on Court No. 1 at the Edgartown Tennis Club with a loyal group of early risers. Well into his 70s as a singles player, he was defeating men half his age with a devious backhand slice and a joyous, apparently indefatigable ability to move around the court. He also took up sailing, buying a Herreshoff 12 1/2, naming her Little Island and competing enthusiastically in the weekly races held by the Edgartown Yacht Club.
In retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Whitley traveled worldwide and spent many winters either in the Caribbean or Hawaii.
Beyond his membership at the Edgartown Yacht Club ,and the Chappaquiddick Beach Club, Mr. Whitley belonged to the Mountain Brook Tennis Club in Birmingham. He was a Freemason and a member of the Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church and Federated Church in Edgartown.
In addition to his wife Eleanor, Mr. Whitley is survived by a sister, Violet Hauswald, of Sugar Hill, Ga., and three children: Nancy Kelly (Howell) of Edgartown; Janice Junker (Bob) of Lake Wylie, S.C.; and Richard Whitley (Mary) of Wilmington, N.C.
He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Andrew Kelly of Edgartown, Bradford Kelly of Greenwood Lake, N.Y.; Brian Junker of Boone, N.C.; Thomas Junker of Milwaukee, Wisc.; Jeffrey Junker of Charlotte, N.C.; Melissa Mann of Wilmington, N.C.; Allison Whitley of Matthews, N.C.; Thomas Max Whitley of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and five great-grandchildren: Mercer, Hollis and Astrid Kelly; Shawn Mann; and Thomas "Whit" Junker.
A family memorial service was held on December 24 in Edgartown. Contributions may be made in Mr. Whitley's memory to the Vineyard Nursing Association.