Don Reese Whittemore ’50

Don Reese Whittemore, 92, of Wilmington, NC, passed away on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019.

Don was born on August 30, 1927 in Newport News, Virginia to Albert E. Whittemore and Kay Stadler Whittemore. Don was the Whittemores’ only child. The Whittemores moved to Rockingham, NC in 1937 where Don’s father pursued work and later Don’s mother established the elegant dress store “Kay’s” which was a fixture in Rockingham for over 50 years.

Don graduated from Rockingham High School in 1944. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a Medical Technician at Camp Hood, Texas during 1945-46. Upon his discharge from the Army, Don enrolled at Davidson College where he excelled in academics and golf. Don had the distinct privilege of competing against Arnold Palmer, who, at the time, was a member of the Wake Forest golf team. It was during his time at Davidson that Don met Mary Myers Carter of Charlotte, NC. They were married on August 3, 1949.

After college graduation, Don attended the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, graduating in 1953. It was then that Don and Mary Myers moved to Wilmington, NC where Don set up his Optometry practice. In 2003, after 50 celebrated years of practice, Don Whittemore retired from Optometry.

Aside from the memorable time spent with his four daughters, Don was deeply immersed in the Wilmington community where he was a member of the Wilmington JC’s, 21 Club, and served on the Boy Scout Council for 18 years where was awarded the prestigious Silver Bear Award. He also worked on various Azalea Festival Committees from 1955 to 1968 and served on the Wrightsville Beach Lion’s Club for 56 years. Additionally, he was also a proud member of the American Optometry Association and the North Carolina State Optometry Association.

An avid, near scratch golfer, Don was a longtime member of Cape Fear Country Club. His other golf memberships included Pine Valley Country Club in Wilmington and both Pinehurst National and Pinehurst Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Don also loved vacationing across the United States & Canada with his family and fishing and hunting with his close friends.

For many years, Don and his family were members of Wrightsville United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Don was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Myers Whittemore, of 63 years.

He is survived by his four daughters, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They are Kay Decker of Pinehurst, her husband, BG (RET) Bob Decker, their daughter, Caroline of Atlanta, GA; Marsha Foscue of Southern Pines, her husband Cyrus Foscue, their daughter Myers Smith of Raleigh, her husband, Barrett Smith and their sons Grayson and Colton and the Foscue’s second daughter Collins O’Toole of Raleigh and her husband Brian O’Toole, and their son Aiden and daughter Stadler; Donna Craigg of Wilmington, her husband Tom Craigg and their daughter Carter of Wilmington; and Lee Whittemore of Ormond Beach, FL and her son Whitt Coates of Ormond Beach.

“Doc” will be dearly missed by countless extended family members, former patients, and friends. He was a true southern gentleman, a great humanitarian, a deeply loyal friend, and loving husband and father. He is already missed, but will never be forgotten!

The family will receive friends for visitation from 1 PM to 3 PM on Saturday, October 5th at Andrews Funeral Home, 1617 Market Street, Wilmington, N.C.

A celebration of life, memorial, and burial service will be held at 11:30 on Monday, October 7th at Richmond County Memorial Park Cemetery, 1717 East Broad Street (Off Business HWY 74), Rockingham, NC, 28379.

Flowers are welcomed and for those who wish to make a donation, the family suggests Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.

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