Livestreamed Celebration of Life1:00 pm
Saturday December 26, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016
Nicholas Edward Whitney Jr. flew away December 22, 2020, surrounded and cared for by loving family, helpers, and Moments Hospice. He was born in Joliet, Illinois on November 9, 1930 to Nicholas Sr. and Mary Speckman Whitney. His childhood in Joliet was followed by a family move to Indiana, where he attended Purdue University to become a Civil Engineer in 1952. A lifelong supporter of his alma mater, he faithfully followed his beloved Boilermakers teams through thick and thin.
After his service in the Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army, he began a thirty-year career in the Bridge Department of the Illinois Central Railroad. He oversaw the safety of rail bridges throughout the “Main Line of Mid-America” tracking the line from the ICRR headquarters in Chicago to New Orleans. While working on a lengthy bridge project in Kentucky in the 1960’s, he met and married Laura, his wife of fifty-six years.
The couple returned to suburban Chicago where they lived and reared their family. He was active in the Olympia Fields United Methodist Church, coached sports teams, and enjoyed cooking especially on his grill. He looked after a variety of family pets, planned road trips, and generally was an active and involved parent and husband.
After his retirement from ICRR as “Engineer of Bridges” Nick and Laura became very involved in volunteerism and travel. The church provided opportunities for short term missions in Alaska, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Brazil, as well as many domestic service ventures. Nick ambitiously kept his Road Scholar Passport up to date taking Laura to Great Britain, the Middle East, Greece, China, and Russia. He also cherished listening to music and attending theater, symphony and operas.
As grandchildren began to arrive miles north of Chicago, he felt a magnetic pull in that direction, and the move to Hudson, WI was made. There he enjoyed time with family boating on Lake Mallalieu, volunteering in the box office at the Phipps theater, serving on the board at Christian Community Homes, and watching a second generation of games, dance recitals, band and choral concerts. Recently he proudly attended family graduations and weddings and celebrated the arrival of great grandchildren.
His ninety years were well-lived. He was loved and lauded by his wife, Laura; children, Virginia Hildebrandt (Ed), Kitty Lorence (Craig), and Nicholas III (Laura); grandchildren, Laura, Phillip (Amanda), Ellen (Clark), Louis, Stuart (Emily), Peter, Russell, Scott, Naomi, and Nicholas IV; and great grandchildren, Henry and Ramona.
A private celebration of Nick’s life will be held Saturday, December 26, 2020 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI. Everyone is invited to view the service via Zoom at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday using this link: Nicholas Whitney Jr. Celebration of Life
Nick’s one request for his celebration of life was to play the song “I’ll Fly Away”. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation to the charity of your choice. Cards for the family may be directed to the funeral home at: O’Connell Funeral Home, Care of Nick Whitney, 520 11th Street S, Hudson, 54016, to be forwarded on your behalf.