William (Bill) Whitaker, 78, of Manchester, passed away Friday, (November 27, 2009) after spending his last day enjoying a festive Thanksgiving gathering with his adoring family.
The beloved husband of Pat (Sheehan) Whitaker, Bill was born March 31, 1931, in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of the late Herbert W. and Elizabeth Whitaker.
A Navy veteran, Bill moved to Manchester in 1957 and soon began a career as a firefighter for the Town of Manchester. Known by his peers as ‘U.U.’, he was a devoted fireman, EMT and union member until his retirement in 1997.
A unique man of many talents, Bill was a member of the class of 1949 at East Hartford High School. Earlier this year, he organized the class’ 60th reunion.
An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, trap shooting and telling funny (and possibly exaggerated) tales of his adventures. Bill also had an artistic flare and was, for many years, an editorial cartoonist for the Manchester Herald.
Most of all, he was a wonderful example to all those that he shared his life with. His work ethic, sense of humor, caring nature, inquisitive mind and family focus made him beloved by countless people. Bill spent his retirement years enjoying his newest role as grandfather. ‘Papa’ Whitaker was a fixture and enthusiastic supporter at countless soccer matches, dance and piano recitals, band performances and school functions.
As his wife Pat said, ‘He was a good man.’ Indeed.
In addition to his loving wife Pat, Bill leaves his sister, Barbara Shimko and her husband, Richard, of Swarthmore, PA; his son, Trey Whitaker and his wife, Cherry, of Hebron; his son, York Whitaker and his wife, Rose, of Bethesda, MD; his daughter Whitney Whitaker and her husband, Gerry Garfield, of Hebron; his daughter, Penny Whitaker, of Manchester; and his grandchildren, Caylee Whitaker, Ellie Whitaker and Nika Garfield.
A remembrance service and Firefighter Color Guard will be held from 3–6 p.m. on Sunday, November 29, 2009 at John F. Tierney Funeral, 219 W. Center St, Manchester, CT. Burial procession will depart the funeral home at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 30, 2009 to East Cemetery in Manchester.