In Memoriam: Horace E. Whittaker
Horace E. Whittaker, 79, a 10-year-old resident of Oak Harbor, Wash., and a member of the Whidbey Island Chapter, died at his home on Dec. 8, 1998, following a brief illness. He was born on a farm near Fond-du-Lac., Wis., in 1919, and at the age of six, his family moved to the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943. After the war he worked for chemical mining firms, including Texaco for 30 years. As an avocado rancher in the Carpinteria Valley, he pioneered drip irrigation and kiwi fruit production. He also had a lifelong fascination with orchids and built a greenhouse at every home he owned. In 1986 he and his wife, Betty, retired to Oak Harbor, where he learned landscaping techniques for the Northwest climate, creating an exceptional garden of rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, irises, daylilies, dahlias, and many unusual shade and sun perennials. The garden will be open to the public on May 9 for tours. He was actively involved in the ARS, the Oak Harbor Garden Club, as well as professional societies. Although stricken with polio in 1953, Horace participated in the Whidbey Island Chapter meetings, donating plants for fund raising, and serving as advisor from his wheelchair. Horace's son, David, remembers that his father made career choices so that he could spend a maximum amount of time with his family. He loved to putter around the yard, greenhouse or workshop and enjoyed having his children putter right alongside him.