In Memoriam: Elaine Whitaker
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Posted by: Elizabeth Porco
Elaine Whitaker died unexpectedly and peacefully on March 31, 2020. Dr. Whitaker was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and grew up in Little Rock, AR, where she attended Little Rock Central High School during its integration. She was a graduate of Hendrix College and New York University. Known for her grace, intellect and unwavering ethics, she was a lifelong educator, initially as an algebra teacher in the Memphis public schools and subsequently as a professor of English at Rhodes College, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Georgia College and State University. In retirement, she was a reading group facilitator in the Equal Justice Initiative's Community Remembrance Project. She was a member of South Highlands Presbyterian Church and an avid student in Bible study at St. Mary's on the Highlands. She was preceded in death by her husband, John N. Whitaker, former chairman of Neurology at UAB. She is survived by her son Jeff (Alexi) Whitaker of Fairfield, CT; her daughter Amy Whitaker of New York, NY; and her daughter Stacey (Paul) Gutman of New York, NY; three grandchildren: Jack Whitaker and Olivia and Sam Gutman; and numerous other family members, especially her sister-in-law Beverly Chapin of Pittsboro, NC. She was a generous, kind and courageous person who will be sincerely missed. A service will be held at a later time when it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2200 Woodcrest Place, Suite 230, Birmingham, AL 35209; to the Bread of Life Food Pantry, c/o Harrisburg First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 126, Harrisburg, AR 72432; or to a local food bank or other charity of your choice. A devoted lifelong letter-writer, she would also be honored by your sending a handwritten note to someone you know.
Published in The Birmingham News from Apr. 10 to Apr. 12, 2020