ADAMS CENTER, NY — Donald William Whitney, 72, passed away Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at home with his family at his side following a brief illness.
Calling hours will be 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at the Carpenter-Stoodley Funeral Home, Belleville with Covid restrictions in place. Funeral services are private for family 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 at the funeral home. Streaming service will be available on the Reed & Benoit/Carpenter-Stoodley Facebook page for anyone who cannot attend. Burial will follow at North Adams Cemetery, North Harbor Road, Adams Center. A celebration of life will be held later in the summer of 2021.
Born Jan. 29, 1948, the son of Helen Goode and Donald Warren Whitney in Watertown, NY, he graduated in 1966 from Adams Center/Adams Central High School.
Donald went on to earn an associate’s degree from Adirondack Community College, a bachelor’s and master’s from SUNY Potsdam, and an administration degree from St. Lawrence University.
He married Linda M. Reed on Jan. 9, 1971, at the Adams Center Baptist Church and they resided in Adams Center, NY. They had three daughters together and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Donald served as a trustee for the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation from 1993 to present. After his father’s death in 1995, he and his wife Linda continued the family appliance store, Whitney Sales and Service in Adams, NY, until its closing in 2004. He enjoyed his role as the Maytag repair man, fixing many family and friends appliances over the years.
Donald retired in 2010 from the Watertown City School District, with over 40 years in education. He began his career at the Belleville Central School District teaching reading and soon moved to the Watertown City School District as a read, write, and spell teacher at North Junior High. He then served as a reading consultant at Wiley, Sacred Heart, Sherman, and then Meade before becoming the K-12 reading coordinator. In 1986, he became the assistant principal of Wiley, then principal of Sherman in 1987. He moved from building to building over the next 24 years serving as principal in nearly every building, sometimes two at a time. He finished his last 10 years as Case Middle School principal and retired in 2010.
Donald was a great leader. He was well liked by all his staff and students. They adored his sense of humor, fairness, jolly nature, and positive outlook. He pushed all his students and staff to excel and achieve greatness.
Upon retirement from the school system, he assumed the president position at the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation in Rochester, NY, a position he served up until his death. He was determined to stay busy; always starting a project, painting a building, splitting wood, planting trees, mowing trails, walking, or mountain climbing.
He was an avid hunter and enjoyed playing church softball leagues over the years. He loved antique shows and flea markets, collecting many local milk bottles and antique cars. He enjoyed reading and many cookouts at the family cottage in Henderson. He cherished time spent with family and friends. He recently helped his grandson, Seth complete his Eagle Scout Project.
He was very generous, enjoyed a good laugh, and always wore a smile. If someone heard his name, chances are they had a good story to tell, a joke, or their face erupted with a smile.
Donald had a passion for history and loved to share his wealth of knowledge to anyone who would listen. He was a great communicator and speaker and loved to do so. He was very active in historical events and enjoyed reading anything historical in nature. He found great joy and pride in researching and preserving family ancestry.
He was an active community member. He served on the Town of Adams planning board, was a member of the South Jefferson Historical Society, the Agricultural Museum, South Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, North Adams Cemetery, and a past board member for Cornell Cooperative Extension. He was very active promoting giving and worked with the Northern New York Community Foundation, PBS, and other organizations to do so.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, three daughters, Kamra (Dan) Rowland, Shannon Whitney (Brian Wekar), and Megan Whitney, three grandsons, Kaeden, Seth, and William, his three sisters, Ann Crawford, Carol (Bradford) White, and Elizabeth (William) Hayes and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents Helen and Donald, his mother-in-law Margaret Reed, his father-in-law Olin Reed, a brother-in-law David Reed, and brother- in- law Elwyn Reed.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the South Jefferson Historical Association, 29 E. Church St, Adams, NY 13605.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.carpenterstoodley.com.