MENDOTA - Gerald “Jerry” George Whitmore, 86, of Mendota, passed away peacefully on Jan. 26, 2022 at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota. Private burial will be at Restland Cemetery, Mendota later in the spring.
Jerry was born Aug. 9, 1935 in Aurora to George E. and Bernice E. (Caponash) Whitmore, Jr. He married Patricia A. Stillwell on Nov. 26, 1958 in LaSalle. She preceded him in death.
Survivors include two sons, Darryl G. (Lisa) Whitmore of Palatine and Scott E. (Cheryl) Whitmore of Marysville, Wash.; four grandchildren, Joie (Aaron) Ocheltree of Bloomington, Katherine N. (Ryan) Lawson of Washington state, Grace Whitmore of Wauwatosa, Wis. and Eve M. Whitmore of Mount Prospect; and several great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia; his parents; and one sister, Patricia A. (Whitmore) Rod.
Jerry was a Boy Scout and graduated from Mendota High School in 1954. He became interested in HAM radio at an early age and this interest turned into a lifelong hobby. Over the years, he contacted and spoke with untold other HAM operators around the world. His call sign was K9HAW, and he would tell people he was “the laughing dog” as a way to remember it. After high school, he worked for Whitmore Electric in Mendota, a business his father had started in 1932. He and Patricia took over the business in 1968 and continued it for another 20 years. Under his ownership, the business expanded and completed many projects, large and small, in and around Mendota. In 1974, they opened a subsidiary business, Witco Lighting and Home Center in downtown Mendota, which sold electrical fixtures, lamps and other residential items. Other contributions to the city where he grew up included being a member of the volunteer fire department from 1960 to 1974 and joining the Chamber of Commerce in the early 70s, eventually serving as president from 1973 to 1974.
After closing Whitmore Electric, he and Patricia moved to Las Vegas for a few years, where he worked in electrical sales. By the mid-90s, they were ready to return home, where he worked a few more years as an industrial factory electrician before retiring. He took up woodworking and built and equipped an extensive shop in his home where he produced many items, some of which won prizes at the local fair. He always loved cars and in his 30s, he restored a Ford Model A, which he often drove in the Mendota Sweet Corn Festival Parade. In retirement, he bought a red 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, which he loved to drive around town with the top down. He enjoyed talking to old friends and meeting new people. On vacations, he would invariably spend 20 minutes talking to the attendant at every gas station, while Patricia sat in the car growing ever more impatient. If you ran into Jerry around town, you had to be careful not to “get him going” unless you had some time to spare!
Memorials may be directed to The PAN Foundation online at panfoundation.org or the charity of one’s choice. Online condolences may be left at www.merrittfh.com.