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Yale 62

Payson R. “Whit” Whitney Jr.

Payson R. “Whit” Whitney, Jr., 82, of Ledyard, CT, husband of Katie (Mahoney) Whitney for 52 years, passed away October 31, 2023, at Crescent Point in Niantic, CT. He was born on November 12, 1940, in Worcester, MA. He was the son of the late Payson R. Whitney, Sr. and the late Priscilla (Ordway) Whitney.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Payson R. Whitney, III and his wife Elizabeth of Watertown, MA, and Michael M. Whitney and his wife Frances of Mystic, CT; a daughter, Katherine Reeves (Yale, 2002) and her husband Michael of Athol, MA; two sisters, Linda McGuigan of Gambrills, MD and Pamela Reilly and her husband William of Peachtree Corners, GA; five grandchildren, Annabelle, Charlotte, Ella, Whitney, and Luke; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Whit had lived in Ledyard since 1983.

Whit was a graduate of Cheshire High School, class of 1958, and at Yale in 1962 he received a B.S. in Industrial Administration. He was a resident of Silliman and a Dean’s List student. He was active on the Silliman Activities Committee and N.R.O.T.C. His roommates were W.M. Carleton, and D.B. Smith.

A 20-year veteran of the US Navy, he achieved the rank of Commander. He served on the nuclear submarines USS Woodrow Wilson (SSBN 624-Blue Crew), PCU Grayling (SSN 646), USS Nautilus (SSN 571), USS Haddo (SSN 604), and as Executive Officer on the USS Bergall (SSN 667). He also served on staff at the USN Submarine School, Groton and COMOPTEVFOR, Norfolk. He was proud to have served his country, and he beamed as he took his children and grandchildren on tours of the Nautilus after she became a museum, pointing out his duty station and stateroom.

After retirement from the Navy in 1983, Whit was a department manager for Analysis & Technology. He later worked at Carwild Corporation as an engineer and special projects manager for over 25 years, retiring in 2020 at age 79. Whit proudly served Yale as the Treasurer and President of the Yale Club of Eastern Connecticut. He was especially dedicated to Yale as the local Yale Alumni Schools Director, where he oversaw and personally interviewed prospective students for 18 years.

Whit was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and brother who put family first. He loved spending time with his family, especially with his grandchildren. During the summer, he enjoyed the company of extended family and friends at Attawan Beach. He and Katie shared outings with their treasured family members throughout the year.

The writer, who shared Whit’s major and had several classes with him, remembers him as a very congenial colleague and a serious student, with a ready smile. In response to our note of condolence, his daughter Katherine shared some Yale-related memories for the members of our class:

“Thank you for your kind note — it’s been wonderful to hear so many new stories and remembrances of my father over the past week.

“Dad loved Yale and always remembered his time there fondly. He continued to be involved as an alum, enjoying gathering with fellow Yalies at football games and at Yale Club meetings (he served as president for many, many years—I still remember stuffing hundreds of envelopes for the mailings to the club members!). He was very proud to have other Yalies in the family too — his son (Michael Whitney, ’96), his nephew (Tom Murphy ’96), and myself (Katherine (Whitney) Reeves, ’02). When I made the decision to attend Yale, I remember his big smile as he said that when he was a student there, he never would have dreamed that his daughter would someday attend — women weren’t allowed at the time. He always enjoyed returning to Yale for parents’ weekends or just to visit us. Because we graduated 40 years apart, our reunions often happened to be on the same weekends, and I’ll miss attending those together.”

Whit will be remembered by family and friends as brilliant, kind, dedicated, welcoming, and witty.

The family sincerely thanks the skilled professionals at Mind Matters LLC in Groton, Visiting Angels, Crescent Point, and the Norwich-based Center for Hospice Care for their care and compassion.

Funeral services were held at the Congregational Church of Holland, MA. Burial with military honors followed in the Holland Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation, 4966 Euclid Road, Suite 109, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 (dolphinscholarship.org) or the Lewy Body Dementia Association (lbda.org).

Carlson Funeral Home, New Britain, assisted the family with arrangements. Please share a memory or note of sympathy at www.carlsonfuneralhome.com.

 
— Tim Hall

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