William K. Whidden, 85

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FEBRUARY 15 – William “Bill” Kirby Whidden Jr., 85, died at Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, on Tuesday, February 15, 2011. He was born in Bartow, FL on January 15, 1926 and was the son of Jessie Lee and William Kirby Whidden. He was preceded in death by his brother Cpt. Wynn Victor Whidden, USN.

As a youth in Florida, Bill was an accomplished athlete in track and field, football and boxing. At age 15, his athleticism and tenacity carried him to successful heights in boxing where he was the runner-up in the Southeastern United States Golden Gloves Championship. His love of nature was developed by spending countless hours exploring, hunting and fishing in the then undiscovered and untamed frontier what is now the Silver Springs area. In addition, he was a high school drum major and is credited with inventing the flaming baton. Later in life, he developed a reputation as a gifted painter, writer and trumpet player. He will be remembered for his love of family, his wonderful sense of humor, his devotion to the Florida Gators and for his personal integrity that was beyond reproach.

Mr. Whidden attended Marion Military Institute at Marion, AL. He served in the Infantry Branch of the U.S. Army during World War II and later attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. He also served in the U.S. Army's Corp of Engineers during the Korean War.

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After the Korean War, he attended the University of Florida School of Architecture in Gainesville and graduated from the School of Building Construction. He began his professional career with Southeastern Construction Co. of Charlotte, NC. He then moved to Richmond where he was employed by an industrial building contractor, Doyle & Russell, as a project manager, engineer and estimator. Later in his career, he was employed as a Vice-President of Dunnington Tobacco Co., Inc. of Farmville.

In 1960, Mr. Whidden co-founded Andrews, Large & Whidden, Inc. of Farmville, where he served as Vice-President for 25 years. He was a member of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Virginia Foundation for Architects and was responsible for building a significant number of projects across the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Longwood College Fine Arts Center.

After retirement, Bill was active as a building consultant and was the Construction Manager for Hampden-Sydney College overseeing the construction of several new buildings and major renovations of many historic buildings.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sally Ann Dunnington and two daughters, Dolly Whidden Horner and husband, Eddie of Lynchburg and Kirby Whidden McElroy and husband, Risden of Charlotte, NC; grandchildren, Sally Horner Elliott and husband, Matt of Lynchburg and their daughter, Maren Dunnington Elliott, Edwin Bryan Horner, IV of Richmond, William Whidden Horner of Richmond, India Dunnington McElroy of Savannah, GA and Risden Little McElroy Jr. of Chapel Hill, NC; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was known affectionately by his family as “Bull”.

The family would like to express their sincere thanks to his devoted caregivers, Cora, Donna, Lorie, Gerri and Jean.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 19 at Westview Cemetery with the Reverend William E. Thompson officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Prince Edward County Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 87, Farmville, VA 23901 or the Hampden-Sydney College Volunteer Fire Department, College Road, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943.

Puckett Funeral Home, Farmville, is assisting the family.