Retired Lt. Col. Eddie Wilber “EW” Whitney was born on March 8, 1924, and died on May 22, 2020, at the age of 96 at the Norton County Hospital in Norton, Kansas.
He was born in Almena, Kansas, to Charles Edwin and Emma Teaford Whitney and was the youngest of nine children. He attended school in Almena and Norton and college in Manhattan, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska.
On August 25, 1947, Eddie was united in marriage to Joan Faye Scheetz at the Catholic Rectory in Norton. They resided in Omaha before returning to Norton, where Eddie joined father-in-law, Fred Scheetz, and brother-in-law, Bill Scheetz, at Scheetz Motor Company. Eddie became the owner of Scheetz Motor Company, which he operated until his retirement.
Joan and Eddie were the parents of two sons, Mark C. Whitney, and Kevin M. Whitney. He belonged to the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Norton and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Eddie enlisted in the Army Air Force in December of 1942 and entered B-17 bomber flight training. He deployed with the 418th Bombardment Squadron and, on arrival in Europe, became part of the 100th Bomb Group, known as the Bloody 100th, a nickname earned over the skies of Germany for the high loss of airmen and aircraft. Eddie was the copilot on a lead crew, and on April 20, 1945, the crew flew the final mission of the war for the 100th. Upon his release from active duty, he joined the Kansas Army National Guard, where he served until his retirement in 1973 as a lieutenant colonel and battalion commander.
Throughout his life, Eddie had a passion for flying. He owned a Bonanza aircraft and he and Joan traveled often for business and pleasure. His other love was cars, old and new, and the art of the deal, with a round or two of golf thrown in as often as he could. Eddie loved talking about life on the farm and growing up with older siblings, the trouble they got him into and the pranks they would play on him. His favorite memory was the time he spent with his older brother Vern when he was nine and spending many hours driving a John Deere GP. He dearly loved that machine and working in the field.
Eddie was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Joan and sons, Mark C. Whitney and Kevin M. Whitney. Also preceding him were brothers: Lewis Whitney, John Wesley Whitney, C. Vernon Whitney, Walter (Bud) Whitney, Arthur Whitney, Floyd Whitney, and sisters, Alpharetta Williamson, and Mable Malcolm. He is survived by his daughters-in-law, Torre Whitney of St. Francis, and Marnie Whitney of Olathe; grandchildren: Marissa (Tony) Niemeyer and their daughters, Madison and Tenley of Gardner, and Elijah Whitney (Corrie Price) and their son, Boston of Kansas City, Missouri. He is also survived by his step-grandchildren: Teresa Douthit (Tom Svoboda) and their children, Grant and Elena of Junction City, Chad (Tanya) Douthit and their son, Oliver of Basehor, and Megan (Chuck) Downey and their sons, Carter and Austin of St. Francis.
Graveside services with military honors will be held 11 a.m. Friday, May 29, at the Norton Cemetery, Norton. Visitation will be 2-7 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish Hall in Norton. The family will greet friends from 5-7 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church or the Norton American Legion Post 63. Condolences may be left at www.paulsfh.com