William “Bill” Lee Whitley ’43

Mr. William “Bill” Lee Whitley passed away Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Morningside in Concord. He was born in Kannapolis, May 19, 1923.

He was a son of the late W.H. Whitley Sr. and Robbie Lee Walters Whitley. He attended the local Kannapolis schools, Davidson College and Duke University.

In October of 1948, he married Johnette Padgett in the Duke University Chapel. Johnnette passed away Sept. 2, 2017.

They had four children, William “Whit” L. Whitley Jr., the late Dr. John M. Whitley, David E. Whitley and wife, Hope, and Jane L. Whitley; grandchildren, Elizabeth Whitley Carroll, Sarah Whitley Ciblak, Andrew Whitley, Alexandra Medley, Patrick Whitley, Anthony Antinucci, Madeleine Antinucci, Arianna Antinucci, Evan Antinucci, Kendyl Denson, Kaisyn Denson, Alyson Hodgkin, Lori Whitcomb, Kristi Huntsberger; great-grandchildren, Ava, Eason and Reeves Hodgkin, Lyla Hope Medley, Ezra Antinucci; brother, W.H. Whitley Jr.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Whitley was a licensed funeral director and C.E.O of Whitley’s Funeral Home in Kannapolis. He began working at the funeral home at age 15 and worked his whole lifetime helping the families of Kannapolis and the surrounding areas during their most difficult times. He bought the business from his father in 1972.

He was a loving father, grandfather and loved spending time with his family. Bill has been active over the years in civic clubs, including president of the Kannapolis Merchants Association, president of the Kannapolis Lions Club, president of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, president and charter member of the Original Kannapolis Golf Club, life member of the 459 Bomb Group World War II Association, life member of the DAV Chapter 27 of Concord, life member of the American Legion Post 0115, life member of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, and life member of V.F.W. Poston-Perkins Post of Kannapolis.

He is a charter member of the Iron Dukes Scholarship Foundation of Duke University, a member of the Duke Alumni Association, James B. Duke Society, and the Founders Society. He is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Kannapolis.

He is also a member of Allen-Graham Masonic Lodge of Kannapolis, the Scottish Rite of Charlotte, the Oasis Shrine Temple of Charlotte, and a member of the Cabarrus Shrine Club. Bill was the Kannapolis Christmas Parade Chairman for over 20 years. He was instrumental in getting the A.L. Brown Football Stadium built. He also was an avid golfer through the years and was a charter member of the Kannapolis Golf Club, now the Club at Irish Creek.

Also, those who knew him best knew that Bill loved to eat. He was a fixture at many local restaurants in the area for many years.

Last but not least, Bill Whitley served his country in World War II, as an engineer gunner on a B-24 Bomber. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in January of 1943, completing 35 missions with the 15th U.S. Army Air Corps based in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Some of his awards were The Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, The European-African Middle Easter Service Medal with 6 bronze stars, Medal for Valor, and the Medal for Meritorious Service.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 3, at Whitley’s Funeral Home Chapel officiated by the Rev. Mike Hubbard. Entombment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park with military honors. His family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, April 2, at Whitley’s.

For those with COVID-19 concerns, his body will lie-in-state at Whitley’s Funeral Home Friday, April 2, from 12 to 5 p.m., and Saturday, April 3, from 9 to 1 p.m., for those who would like to pay their respects.

Bill and his family would love for people to donate to a charity of their choice for veterans. He loved his country and loved all that served and honored their country.

Whitley’s Funeral Home www.whitleysfuneralhome.com

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