Walter L. Whitaker

June 15, 1924 ‒ December 18, 2017

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD: Walter L. Whitaker passed away peacefully at his daughter’s home on December 18, 2017.  Walter was born to Robert and Nellie Yearian Whitaker on June 15, 1924 in Jackson, OH.  He graduated from Jackson High School in 1942 and entered the Air Force shortly thereafter.

After the military, Walter came home to Jackson and fell in love with the Jackson County Apple Festival Queen, Grace Helen Woodruff, and they married August 10, 1946.  He worked for a time in the paper mill in Chillicothe as a millwright’s apprentice to support a growing family.

He was called to the ministry at age 28 when he had 3 children under the age of 5.  He graduated from Otterbein College, received a Master’s of Divinity from Ashbury Seminary, and spent the next 40 years serving the Lord in several E.U.B. and United Methodist churches/congregations.  Since moving to Mansfield, although he was retired, Rev. Whitaker frequently assisted pasturing at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, providing hospital and shut-in visitation and filling in the pulpit whenever needed.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen.  He is survived by his daughter, Carla (Chris) Rumas of Mansfield; two sons, John and Paul (Jane) Whitaker of Fort Pierce, FL; and grandchildren, Tad (Kathy) Rumas of Sunbury, OH, Reid (Britt) Whitaker, Brooke Whitaker, Chase Whitaker of Fort Pierce, FL, Wes Whitaker, and Spencer Whitaker of Doylestown, PA.  He is also survived by great-grandchildren, Kayla and Timothy Rumas and Banyan and Finn Whitaker, and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be on Thursday, December 21, 2017 from 4-7 pm in the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home.  The funeral service will be Friday at 11 am at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.  The Rev. Laura White will officiate and military honors will follow at the church.  Burial will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery on German Church Road.

Memorial contributions to Chapel Hill United Methodist Church may be made through the funeral home.

Messages of sympathy may be made to the family by



  • Both our individual lives and our life as a couple have been greatly influenced and blessed by the deep spiritual life of Walt Whitaker. Great are the hopes of sharing with Walt and Helen in the Kingdom of Heaven. To God be the glory…great things he has done for us all!

  • Walter was a such a caring man and loved playing ball with my boys at all the Woodruff reunions over the past years. God gave him many attributes and we are positive he will be loved in heaven as he was here on this earth.

  • I don’t think I can put fully into words how precious Walt was to me. I had tried to find him in recent years, but had obviously failed. He gave me some Kierkegaard books once upon a time, as I was moving towards a degree in Philosophy, and I think that concerned him. I felt the call to be pastor while he was preaching at Pleasant Valley, a call I didn’t answer for quite a few years. His passion and gruffness was somehow endearing to me, though I can’t put my finger exactly on why. I very much wanted to find him when I was being ordained, but unfortunately, I was not successful. I have many memories, though I was much younger, of our conversations, of how to the point he was, and how Thad and I both have Aug 21 birthdays, though I don’t think we met more than a couple times. My prayers for the family, I so wish I could be there in person to pay my respects, but I wish more I would have searched harder and had a few more conversations with him while he was with us.

  • Such a nice man. Filled in at the last minute to marry my husband and I on his 50th wedding anniversary. A very special day. Prayers to your family.

  • So very sorry for your loss. Walt was a very caring person. When my husband a pastor in McArthur passed away. Walt was very upset because he had lost his father same age as my oldest son. He came in just wanting to do anything to help. My baby was 5 months old. I had just realized he needed to go to Dr. Walt spoke up and said I’ll take him. The Dr. In Jackson sent him to holzer in Gallipolis to be admitted. Walt was a very big help since I was on my way to visitation at the funeral. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.

  • Walt was my predecessor at Lithopolis United Methodist Church and I enjoyed getting to know him as a neighbor as well as a colleague.