Funeral services for James Keller Whitaker II, 84, of Blackey, will be held at 11 a.m. today (Wednesday) at Letcher Funeral Home in Whitesburg. Burial will be in the Whitaker- Back Cemetery in Blackey.
He died October 5 at the Greg & Noreen Wells Hospice Center in Hazard.
The son of the late J. Keller and Bertha Whitaker, he was born in Blackey. His early days of life were spent in the hills and hollows of the area. He attended Cordia School and was graduated at age 16 with just a handful of others. He attended Alice Lloyd College, Union College and Morehead State University.
In 1954, Mr. Whitaker enlisted in the U.S. Navy. While stationed in Astoria, Oregon, he met his wife-to-be, Ova Ann, on a liberty trip to Portland. While in the Navy, he was stationed on the USS Coral Sea and the USS Prevus and saw many ports across the world. Upon his honorable retirement in 1975, as a first class storekeeper and dispersing clerk, he was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, five Good Conduct Medals, Combat Action Medal, Armed Service Medal and two Vietnam Service Medals.
After his retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker and their four sons moved to Ontario Oregon, where he began a second career with the city of Ontario as shop foreman. When he retired again, he and Mrs. Keller moved to Blackey.
Surviving are four sons, James Keller Whitaker and wife Beck Sue of Texas, Russell Whitaker and wife Vonda of Kentucky, Robert Whitaker and wife Paula of Mexico , and Wally Whitaker and wife Kristi of Oregon; a sister, Alice Whitaker of Kentucky; and a number of grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his wife, Ann Whitaker; a sister, Ruth Ann Kelly; two grandchildren, April and Bobby; and a niece, Amanda Worley.