John W. Whitbeck, Sr. 6/4/1925 -4/21/2021
John Whitbeck passed away on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at the age of 95 after a brief illness. He is with his sweetheart in heaven and dancing, holding her close. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be missed dearly by his family, long-time friends and his devoted neighbors.
He is predeceased by his loving wife Jeanne; parents Wade and Anita Whitbeck; sisters Gayle, Margaret, Barbara; Brother Charles; son-in-law Tom Evans; and several in-laws.
John was a remarkable father of six children, Anita Evans, Bonnie and Tony Zebrowski, John, Jr. and Donna Whitbeck, Donna and Joe Tokos, Penny and Mike Crompton, Tom and Mary Whitbeck. He was especially proud of his 14 grandchildren and their spouses, 29 great-grandchildren and would have loved his expected great-great grandchildren.
He is also survived by sisters Ruth, Joan, Beverly and brother Donald.
John was a Navy Veteran, serving his country during WWII in the South Pacific as a Signalman 1st Class on the LST 743. He was a long-time member of the LST Association. He was a true patriot and a proud American and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, as well as other medals for his bravery. Several years ago he had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC with the TWin Tier Honor Flight organization, which is something he truly enjoyed. John was a member of the Chenango Forks/Greene American Legion.
John retired from a rewarding career with Honeywell and was a long-time member of the Plumber and Steamfitters Union #112, serving as a mentor to many young apprentices. He was a member of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Greene, NY.
Fighting fires and volunteering in emergencies was something our Dad felt strongly about. He was a member of the Chenango Forks Volunteer Fire Department, where he held all Board positions, including Fire Chief.
Dad was most proud of his 58-year involvement with Masonry. He was a member of the Eastern Light Lodge 126, Greene and Oxford Lodge 175, and was the recipient of the prestigious Wendell Walker Award. Also John was active in many concordant bodies of Masonry, Royal Arch Masons and Knights Templar for 50+ years.
John was a supportive and active member of the Chenango Valley Shrine Club and was a Noble of Kalurah Shriners. Our Dad was involved with the Kalurah Klown Unit, and dressed as the tramp named "Lonesome". His character never cracked a smile but he loved helping the Klown Unit in parades as they pulled off their pranks and antics. He enjoyed making kids smile. He often worked behind the scenes, where the foundation was laid for building a successful organization through education and mentorship.
In his spare time, along with our Mom, he raised six children. Together they built a beautiful cottage on Melody Lake where he enjoyed spending time with his family and many friends. Mom and Dad always took great pride in their bountiful vegetable gardens. He loved fishing and hunting.
John was an avid athlete. He played baseball and was an accomplished bowler participating on several leagues. Later in life he took up golf, sharing his experience and always a teacher of the sport to his family, especially the love of his life. Our Mom and Dad played together as much as possible. Up until this past Fall, he continued to golf with his Masonic brothers.
The family would like to thank the staff at Wilson Memorial Hospital for their compassionate care and for treating him as if he was their dad.
We would be remiss not to thank his dear dear friend, companion and golf partner, George Estey. The friendship Dad had with George was unique in that they were more like brothers than just friends.
In John's memory please consider a donation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, 516 Carew Street, Springfield, MA 01104-2396. The mission of the Shriners Hospitals was always near and dear to his heart.
At the family's request, private services will be held.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
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