By Tony Dutra-Publisher
Mr. William Whitehurst was born on July 15th, 1922 in Sacramento, but grew up in Los Banos often helping his father as a teenager in the family funeral home business. We were saddened to hear that Bill had died of congestive heart failure last week. He was 89.
Mr. Whitehurst was a Fresno businessman as well as a community leader. During his lifetime he served his nation as an Army infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II. He later served on the Los Banos City Council as well as the Dos Palos City Council. He became a part of the local campaigns for President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Governor Edmund G. Brown.
Bill served on the California Highway Commission, chaired the Fresno County Cancer Crusade, was on the Saint Agnes Advisory Board, Knights of Columbus member, the Fresno Arts Center, and a proud member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mr. Whitehurst was a very kind and giving individual during his lifetime, although I had not realized how much so until later. He gave to his community, or should we say communities, in numerous ways, often quietly.
I was the fortunate one who had the pleasure of getting to know this gentle, and intelligent soul due to The Paper. He became a loyal subscriber, often writing to me about the history and earlier times of our Los Banos. Bill had vivid, wonderful memories he shared with me and our readers in his writings. We often received such positive comments about something he may have written in an article, or a letter. The man loved his former home.
Growing up in the rural town of Los Banos during the Depression, working in the family business, remembering good times he shared with childhood friends meant so much to him. Bill encouraged me to share this historical content of this community with the various generations. I will always remember one of his favorites dealt with “The Padre” who had been a mentor, teacher, and coach to Bill and former students. This, like many of his writings, were of lessons learned, and of course good memories.
In the weeks ahead, I would like to share a few remaining writings he sent. I feel certain our readers will also enjoy them.
I feel Bill has also been a mentor to me during these past years, and will always appreciate his kindness, and the encouragement given. We sincerely extend deep condolences to the family. Mr. Whitehurst is survived by his wife, Ann T. Sullivan Whitehurst; sons Dan, Billy, Winston, and Warren Whitehurst; daughter Jane Whitehurst; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; and sister, Elizabeth Taylor of Roseville. Recitation of the Rosary was held on Friday evening, January 6th. A Mass was held at the Shrine of St. Therese in Fresno on Saturday, January 7th, 2012 followed with a Christian Burial.
By Tony Dutra-Publisher