Ken Whiting

Kendall M. Whiting of Pensacola, FA passed away on December 31, 2011 a few minutes before the start of the New Year. He was born in New Bedford, MA on July 18, 1941 and spent his formative years in Stamford, CT. After graduating from Central Connecticut State College he spent the spring of 1964 working for the AMC at Pinkham Notch Camp and continued on during the summer working in the storehouse and as a truck driver. After leaving AMC, he spent a year in Torrington, CT teaching power mechanics in the industrial arts program of the local high school and then enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. After completing Officer Candidate School, he was sent to Pensacola, FL to be trained as a helicopter pilot. While in Pensacola, he met and married Julie Anne Reese. Flying became a passion for him. He pursued this passion for 20+ years in the Coast Guard with postings in NJ, TX, WA, CA, AL, and the Antarctic. He retired from the Coast Guard as a Lt. Commander in the late 80’s.

In retirement he continued his love of flying by becoming a certified aircraft mechanic, and then teaching the subject at a specialty technical school in southern Maine. This in turn led to his participation in a project that successful constructed a working replica of the “Vin Fizz,” the first plane to fly coast to coast across the US. Retirement also gave him the opportunity to pursue his second passion—riding BMW motorcyles. Towards the end of this project in the late 90’s Ken was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. With the recognition of what the future held for him and the desire of his wife to be closer to her parents, they relocated from Maine back to Pensacola. The Parkinson’s and complications associated with the disease ultimately took his life. Ken is survived by his wife, Julie Anne of Pensacola, their sons Ethan and his wife, Rita, of Fayetteville, AK, and Zachary of San Francisco, CA, a sister, Linda Eaton of Denmark, ME, and a brother, Gerry of North Yarmouth, ME and his wife, Meta (both OH). Ken was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Dana, who worked in the huts during the late 60’s.

Comments

  1. Richard Soucy

    Mr. Whiting, you were a dedicated and thoughtful Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Thank you for everything you did for my Wife and me. You will be missed.

    R. D. Soucy, CWO4 USCG (Ret)

  2. Chuck Prudhomme

    I was sorry to hear of Ken’s passing at this late date. I flew with Ken many times at CGAS Arcata in the early 80’s. I also flew with him as a civilian EMS pilot in Lubbock, Texas in 1989. We spent many days on the road on our BMW’s. A gentleman, and a fine aviator. Keep the turns in the green my friend! Chuck Prudhomme LT USCG Retired

  3. Dick Buhl

    Very sad to hear about Ken. Spending six months with him in an 80 sq ft stateroom aboard the “Hurtin Burton” to the Antarctic resulted in a strong friendship. He built an aircraft model during that trip that was accurate down to the tread in the tires…that was Ken. From flying to woodwork to motorcycles he was a meticulous artist. I will miss him.
    Dick Buhl

  4. larryt@wavecable.com

    Was looking up Ken to see if he was still in Pensacola when I came across this. We knew him and Julie and their kids when he was stationed with the C.G. in Port Angeles Wa. in the late 70’s. One of my greatest memories was after a night sailboat race in the harbor. After crossing the finish line in the dark I thought it would be a kick to fire a red flare in celebration. It is amazing how fast a helicopter can get in the air and cross that small harbor. One of the sailing guys got on the phone to the base and said it was just some “idiot” celebrating. Later that night there was a knock on our door and when I opened it there stood Ken in uniform!!! Started to get a little nervous and I asked Ken, “whats up?” His answer, “I came to replace your flares.” I could hear the cell doors starting to close and then he started laughing. Still don’t know who told him it was me but I know that having Ken on duty that night saved my bacon!!! He was one of the good guys!!

    Larry and Cherie Temres

    1. Juliana

      Hi Larry and Cherie, It’s so good to know that you remember my dearest Ken so fondly. He was indeed one of the good guys. In my book he was the best guy. He always will be…even into eternity. Always…Julie (Ken’s wife)

  5. Juliana

    There is an end to Ken’s story, or perhaps a beginning. His ashes are interred at Barrancus National Cemetery. You can find his grave site on findagrave.com. He was buried with full military honors. But then, that’s the end of his earthly life only. His spirit lives on in his children and family and the many friends who love him still. Ken always said that the best part of his job in the Coast Guard was flying the new born preemies to hospitals to get assistance for their survival. Ken was a humble man who loved the greatest and least of us…especially those dear preemies. Perhaps that was because all three of his sons (Ethan, Seth …who predeceased Ken, and Zachary) were preemies too.
    Thank you for posting this lovely memorial to a greatly loved man, father, and husband.
    Julia Reese-Whiting (Ken’s wife)