Donald Harold Whitener died May 18, 2018, in St. Louis. Don was born May 22, 1926, in Marquand, the youngest of seven children of Norma Ellen and Lester Franklin Whitener.
Mr. Whitener was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Lou Ann (Banta) Whitener, and by his brothers Raymond, Floyd, Joy, Lester Gerald, and Milford, and sister Mildred.
He is survived by his sons Miles Banta and Mark David Whitener, daughters in law Mary and Sarah, five grandchildren, and a large extended family including many nieces and nephews.
Don was born and grew up on the family farm in Marquand, a time he remembered fondly and a place he held close to his heart all his life. Don was baptized into the Triune God on October 3, 1926 at Marquand Methodist Church.
Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944, turning 18 on the train to boot camp, and was later commissioned as a Lieutenant J.G.
After the war Don graduated from Southeast Missouri State University, and took a job as assistant superintendent of the Brown Shoe Company factory in Potosi. There he met Lou Ann Banta in the choir at Potosi Methodist Church. After a joyful courtship, they married on November 27, 1952, and had two sons.
Don was transferred to Brown Shoe headquarters in Clayton, Missouri in 1962. A lifelong Methodist, Don contributed his many musical gifts to his church and community as a quartet tenor, pianist, organist, and choir member.
In midlife he took early retirement and studied to become a travel agent, which he did for nearly three decades, organizing trips all over the world.
When his Lou Ann died in 1986, Don increasingly devoted his life to the service of others — his children, grandchildren, extended family, and community. He was an early and active supporter and board member of the Shepherd’s Center of Webster-Kirkwood, and an active congregant and choir member at Webster Hills United Methodist Church. He also attended Webster Groves Christian Church. Don loved nature and gardening, from his earliest childhood memories of picking bluebells along the riverbank on the family farm, to nurturing the garden at his home in Kirkwood. Don’s last home was Laclede Groves in Webster Groves, where he made more new friends. From his youth to his final days, Don was a gentle, loving man, who touched the lives of many, always with kindness, selflessness, humility and humor. He will be dearly missed, but is now safely with Christ.
Visitation will be held at Bopp Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri on Friday, June 1 from 4-7 p.m. The funeral service will be on Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m. at the Marquand Methodist Church, followed by burial at Whitener Cemetery. Memorial donations are not necessary, but may be made to the Marquand, Missouri Methodist Church, Marquand High School, the Shepherd’s Center of Webster-Kirkwood or Kingdom House.