Melvin Eugene Whitaker, 89, of Hamilton, IL passed away February 1, 2021 at River Hills Nursing Home in Keokuk, Iowa.
Melvin was born March 28, 1931 in Akron, Iowa, the son of Charles and Dorothy (McCorkell) Whitaker. He was united in marriage to his wife of sixty-nine years, whom he absolutely adored, Marlene Cameron on June 4, 1950. She preceded him in death on June 28, 2019. In 1953 they welcomed their only child, Ronald Whitaker.
Melvin attended high school in Elvaston, Illinois where he loved playing basketball. He enlisted in the Army in 1951 and was stationed in Ft Ord, California. Upon completion of his military service he moved back to Elvaston where he farmed for JL Ewing. Melvin was extremely passionate about cars and worked as a mechanic for Biel Motor Company in Carthage, Jemison Chevrolet in Keokuk and George Koch Buick Pontiac and Cadillac. He went on to work for Goodyear Tire Company where he transferred to Algona, Iowa. Harsh winters brought Melvin back to Hamilton where he was employed by the Hamilton School District as a bus mechanic and driver until he retired. Immediately after retiring Melvin became restless and went to work for the Hamilton Park Board mowing and maintaining the Hamilton parks.
Melvin was an avid fisherman and enjoyed countless fishing trips with his brothers. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, especially for mushrooms. Melvin was a devoted country music fan and always had music playing in the house. He and Marlene frequently travelled to Branson, MO and Nashville, TN to attend country music shows and theatres. Melvin enthusiastically watched country western films and became enthralled with the annual March Madness basketball tournament. Melvin was also a keen gambler. He enjoyed visiting riverboat casinos, which became a birthday and anniversary tradition between him and Marlene.
Melvin, more than anything, loved spending time with his family. Mornings were spent drinking black coffee and playfully bickering with Marlene. He loved cross country road trips to visit with cousins, fishing excursions, and the pop-up poker games of Whitaker Win that occurred at every family gathering. Over the years Melvin, along with Marlene, opened their home for numerous family gatherings and events. They became family pillars who helped plan and coordinate large reunions that brought together family members from across the country. These events and gatherings created Melvin’s most cherished memories that he fondly reminisced about.
Melvin is survived by his son Ronald (Deborah) Whitaker of Warsaw Illinois; three grandchildren: Beau Whitaker of Hamilton, Illinois, Lance Whitaker of Sutter, Illinois, and Erin (Mark) Hutchison of Hamilton, Illinois; one great-grandchild: Dylan Whitaker of Keokuk, Iowa; four brothers: Stan (Marge) Whitaker of Keokuk, Jerry Whitaker of Warsaw, Bill (Phyllis) Whitaker of Carthage, and Mike (Pam) Whitaker of Keokuk; one sister-in-law: Marge Whitaker of Texas; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Melvin was preceded in death by his parents, wife Marlene, grandson Dustin Whitaker, and four brothers: Duane, Lowell, Kenneth, and Dennis.
A visitation for family will be held at Printy Funeral Home in Hamilton, Illinois, on February 13, 2021, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm with a funeral immediately following at 1 pm. For the safety of those attending, masks and social distancing will be required. For those unable to attend, the funeral service will be available for live-streaming here. A private graveside burial will be held at a later date.
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