Earl A. Whitener, Jr., 90, of Beckley, WV passed away on January 22, 2023. As a life-long resident of Beckley, Earl was born on March 20, 1932. Throughout his life, Earl connected with many people in a very special way. He loved to spend time with his beloved wife of 72 years, Bonnie and his family. He enjoyed many summers doing outdoor activities at Flat Top Lake, keeping tabs on his favorite sporting teams and increasing his knowledge through his daily reading of the Bible.
Growing up in Raleigh County, Earl was an Eagle scout. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1950, where he was a member of the football and basketball teams, as well as Captain of the track team. He was a successful area businessman, owning and operating Whitener Roofing and Heating Company for over 50 years. He was considered a sheet metal artisan for the passion he demonstrated in his work.
Earl was civic minded and desired to make his community a better place to live. He was a member of Gideon’s International, serving in many local and state office positions. He spoke in over 400 churches representing the Gideons. He was a former board member of the Southern West Virginia Fellowship Home, past president of the WV Baptist Convention, trustee of Alderson-Broaddus College (where he was also named chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee), member of the Beckley Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Earl’s faith and love for his church family was undeniable. Earl became a Christian in 1944 and was raised in the First Baptist Church in Beckley. He remained active in the church and developed many endearing friendships along the way. At the church, he was honored to serve on various boards and committees, including head deacon and church parliamentarian. He was also the church moderator for over 30 years and spent 50 years as the Sunday School teacher for the Hoge-Cook Men’s Bible class, which was broadcast every Sunday morning on radio station WJLS.
To know Earl was to know a compassionate man with a gentle spirit, an incredible sense of humor, and the ability to offer invaluable and practical advice to others. The Whitener family would also like thank all those who provided the wonderful caregiving services to Earl, especially over the last few months.
Earl is preceded in death by his parents, Earl, Sr. and Beulah, his son, David, and his sister, Joyce Ann Parsons.
Left to remember and carry on his legacy is the love of his life, Bonnie Ruth Shuff, who shares and exemplifies their personal motto of “True Love Lasts”. Other surviving family members include: 4 children - Steven and his wife Susan Kay of Beckley, Susan Belcher and husband Bryan of Beckley, Tom and wife Theresa of South Charleston, and Tim of Charleston; daughter-in-law, Robin of Conway, SC; 8 grandchildren - Stephanie, Matthew, Daniel and his wife Rebecca, Lew, Eric and his wife Kristian, Jeffrey, Allison and her husband Christian, and Blake; 11 great-grandchildren – Reagan, Brannon, Josi, Alex, Mason, Brodie, Calyx, Phoenix, Rhys, Dakota and Jackson.
Services will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 1:00 PM at the First Baptist Church in Beckley, with Rev. Doc Adkins officiating. Grandsons will serve as pallbearers. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the church. Interment will take place at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Beckley Gideon Camp or First Baptist Church.
Calfee Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.