Cover photo for William "Whit" L. Whitley, Jr.'s Obituary
William "Whit" L. Whitley, Jr. Profile Photo
1955 William "Whit" L. Whitley, Jr. 2024

William "Whit" L. Whitley, Jr.

June 23, 1955 — April 18, 2024

Kannapolis

The most unique, interesting, and loving gentleman has gone to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. William (Whit) L. Whitley Jr. (68), devoted father and grandfather, entertainer, and dedicated funeral director, passed away on Thursday, April 18, 2024 due to injuries resulting from an accident in South Dakota. Whit was on what he described as “the adventure of a lifetime” and he lived his life to the fullest until his very last day.

The longtime Kannapolis native was born June 23, 1955, to the late William (Bill) L. Whitley and Johnette P. Whitley. In addition to his parents, Whit was preceded in death by his brother, John M. Whitley.

Whit was a 1973 graduate of A.L. Brown High School. He then obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNCC in 1977 and a graduate degree from the Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in 1979. In addition to his formal education, Whit was an avid explorer of knowledge, constantly reading books on everything from historical non-fiction to advanced calculus. His thirst for understanding the world and its history and his ability to retain knowledge on even the most unusual of topics was truly profound.

Whit never met a stranger and loved to spark conversations with people everywhere he went. He loved fine food and wine, playing and singing music, golf, hiking, living out his dreams of being a cowboy (horseback riding and visiting dude ranches), and traveling to new places.

Whit dedicated 47 years of his life working in the funeral industry, primarily at Whitley’s Funeral Home (both as funeral director and Vice President) alongside his father Bill, brother David, sister Jane, and many close friends and colleagues. During that time, in addition to working at Whitley’s, Whit was a valued member of multiple community service organizations: the Noon Optimist Club of Kannapolis (member and former president), the Kannapolis Rotary Club, and the Allen-Graham Masonic Lodge No. 695.

Following his many years of service to Whitley’s, Whit took on a second career focused on entertainment endeavors. Passionate about movies and film since his youth, Whit embarked on a whirlwind career of film and TV screenwriting. He wrote nine feature length action/adventure screenplays, twenty short comic sketches, ten short stories, four short screenplays (comedy & horror), and published four books compiling many of his works. In addition to writing, he produced and acted in multiple productions of his own as well as two mainstream commercials and one film. On top of that, he also acted in four theatrical productions with the Piedmont Players Productions theater group, performed skits at multiple comedy shows, and enjoyed entertaining senior citizen groups and clubs with musical programs through the years. He truly was a renaissance man and displayed great pride and passion for his creative productions, which he meticulously catalogued on his website: www.thewhitwhitleyshow.com.

Additionally, he was a devoted member of Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, N.C., and sang Tenor as a member of the fellowship choir. In the last few years, he also served as a substitute teacher for Cabarrus County Schools and cherished the opportunity to use his retirement as a time to give back to his community and its youth.

While his professional and creative accomplishments are impressive, nothing compares to the compassionate and generous roles he served with his family, specifically that of being a father, grandfather, and dog owner. Lucky to have him as their father, Whit leaves behind four daughters: Elizabeth W. Carroll (Arthur), Sarah W. Ciblak (Ali), Lori H. Whitcomb (Greg), and Kristi H. Huntsberger (Dan). He devoted his life to taking care of his daughters, taking them on adventures and filling their lives with joy and laughter. He also leaves behind four grandchildren: Owen J. Whitcomb, Aubrey A. Whitcomb, Rosie J. Ciblak, and William A. Carroll, who he took great pride in and doted upon. He is also survived by two previous wives, Catherine N. Whitley and Karan B. Whitley, his brother and sister, David E. Whitley (Hope) and Jane L. Whitley, many nieces and nephews that he adored, and a large and loving extended family. Lastly, Whit was a devoted dog owner, treating his “girls” as he called them like daughters. He leaves behind two beloved dogs: Katie and April, and was preceded in death recently by another beloved dog Sadie.

While Whit’s great adventure in life has come to a close, he had one heroic last wish. His desire to be an organ donor now means that his devotion to God and helping others will continue to carry on even though his time with us has passed.

A funeral service celebrating Whit’s life will be held at Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church in Kannapolis at 3:00 PM Saturday, April 27, with Rev. John Futterer officiating. His family will receive friends at Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church two hours prior to the funeral, from 1:00-3:00 PM. Whit will be laid to rest at Carolina Memorial Park during a private ceremony at a later time.

Online condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com. As Whit was a devoted pet owner, in lieu of flowers, he requested that memorials be made to the Humane Society of Concord & Greater Cabarrus County (https://www.cabarrushumanesociety.org/).

 

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