City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Obituary
Gordon Warren Whitney Jr.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Age 77.
Died 04/09/2024.

Gordon Warren Whitney Jr.
Gordon Warren Whitney Jr.
September 24, 1946 - April 9, 2024

Raleigh, NC

Gordon Warren Whitney Jr., 77, died from Lewy Body Dementia on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Raleigh, NC. He was surrounded by family, friends, and love in his final weeks.

Loved ones describe Gordon as a gentle giant: easygoing, brilliant, funny, patient, supportive, kind, loving, and laid back. Whitney was Gordon’s last name as well as a keen identifier, as he was known not only for his sharp wit, but also his equally sharp and bony knees.

Gordon was born in Mount Pleasant, PA on September 24, 1946. He grew up in Coraopolis, PA, where he had a paper route, played little league baseball, and enjoyed playing catch with his little brother, Johnny, in the front yard. He also ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day from elementary school all the way through college (made by his mother, of course). He had a love for music and would play motown every night so his little sister, Martha, could listen through their shared wall. A preacher’s son, he was very involved in church, and this is where he first met his future wife and the mother of his three daughters, Betty. As a teenager, he took advantage of his lanky height and excelled at basketball–he was even hitting nothing-but-net shots until very recently. He also had a love for disassembling, reassembling, and building his own electronics. He built his first stereo system in high school and thus began his penchant for and interest in engineering.

Gordon graduated from Carnegie Tech College of Engineering and Science in 1968 with a degree in electrical engineering. As a true engineer, he always bought used cars so that he could work on them until he got them to run (at least temporarily). In the 70s, Gordon went on to race his Datsun at the Watkins Glen International Speedway in New York. Gordon became an accomplished aerospace engineer, including a decade spent working on an airborne radar early warning system.

Gordon and Betty married in 1971 in Coraopolis and lived together in Silver Spring, Maryland where they raised their daughters. They enjoyed sailing, family vacations, camping, and playing heated tennis matches. Gordon’s proudest accomplishment was being a father to his three daughters whom he adored. He coached his daughter’s softball teams, was president of the local swim club, and taught Sunday School. His daughters have so many fond memories with their dad; especially of backyard wiffle ball and laying in the hammock on summer nights watching bats fly by while they sang songs and he told them stories about Rocky and Spoon Raccoons. Gordon built a zip line, rings, a slide, sandbox, and log cabin in the backyard woods for the girls. The family loved annual trips to Topsail Island, NC with the whole Whitney gang. Family was very important to Gordon. He had a hobby for genealogy and thoroughly mapped out the family tree. Gordon and Betty separated and remained friendly co-parents beyond their divorce. Gordon was remarried for a period of time to Janie and was a dedicated and loving stepfather to Tanner, enjoying vacations, sports, and activities together.

After receiving a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia in 2018, Gordon maintained a positive outlook on life and his easy going attitude helped him thrive during this new chapter, a true testament to his character and faith. After moving to Raleigh, NC with his beloved cat Condie, he built a new community at Magnolia Glen, where he spent time with friends enjoying trivia, trips to museums, long walks, and developed a close relationship with his companion, Mimi. He lived close to two of his grandchildren, and they loved going on walks together and playing games.

Gordon shared his fascination with the night sky with his family and friends and he passed away shortly after the April 8th solar eclipse took place. He will be remembered always as a man of God, an adoring father and grandpa, a supportive brother and uncle, a devoted son, and a loyal friend.

He is survived by his daughter Mara Taranhike and husband Gladman, of Raleigh, NC, daughter Alison Whitney and husband Gerald of Brooklyn, NY, and daughter Anna Whitney of Baltimore, MD. Gordon is also survived by brother John Whitney of Bronx, NY; sister Martha Rowe of Raleigh, NC; and companion Doris (Mimi) Aragona; as well as three grandchildren: Elliot, Tadiwa, and Milo; five nieces; two nephews; one grand niece; three grand nephews; and one great-grand niece. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Gordon Whitney Sr. and Marguerite Whitney, sister Margaret Mahood, and nephew J.D.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 12th at 2pm at the “Raleigh Memorial Park & Mitchell Funeral Home” (the chapel within the cemetery) at 7501 Glenwood Ave. Raleigh, NC 27612. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) at 912 Killian Hill Road SW Suite 205 Lilburn, GA 30047 or www.lbda.org/donate or the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering or https://tinyurl.com/56xxu49s.

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.


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City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

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An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

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As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations