Perry G. Whitman, age 99, of Hancock, MA went home to our Lord on March 3rd. Born in Springfield, MA on July 20, 1918, the son of Perry A. and Ruth G. Whitman, he attended the Hancock Village School for 8 years and went on to graduate from Pittsfield High School's first graduating class in 1935. He also attended the Bay Path University.
Mr. Whitman started his working career at the Wyandotte Mill in Pittsfield and later at W.J. Cowee in Berlin, N.Y. In 1942 he went to work for the New York Central Railroad at the Union Station in Pittsfield. A World War II veteran, Mr. Whitman was drafted into the Navy in 1943 and served in the Mediterranean attached to P.T. Squadron 15 based in Corsica. He was later transferred to the P.T. Tender USS Varuna which was operating in the South Pacific. He saw action during the Invasion of Borneo and also during the Liberation of the Philippines. He was the recipient of the World War II Freedom from Fear, Want, & Freedom of Speech & Religion medal; the Liberty Medal for the Liberation of the Philippines; the European African Middle Eastern Campaign medal; the American Campaign Medal and also the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal.
Being discharged in 1946 as a Motor Machinist Mate 3rd Class, Mr. Whitman returned to Hancock and his wife, the former Jennie G. Gardiner, whom he had married in 1940. He went back to work for the New York Central Railroad. In 1960 Perry went to work for Berkshire Travel Agency, retiring in 1983 as their Vice-President.
Mr. Whitman was the Chief of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department from 1976-1988 and was the last surviving charter member. He served on Hancock's School Committee, the School Building Committee, Finance Committee, new fire truck committees and was the school custodian. He was a member of the Hancock Baptist Church and a deacon for 33 years. He also was a member of the American Legion for 71 years and a Master Mason of the New Moon Lodge in Pittsfield. Not wanting to sit idle, Mr. Whitman worked part-time at Jiminy Peak the Mountain Resort as a maintenance man & later a reservationist, retiring (at the age of 95) from the "Just Jiminy" Shop.
Perry travelled throughout the world but always said the best place was home. He loved the outdoors and could often be seen walking on Route 43 or the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. His garden always produced an abundance of vegetables which he would share with his friends. "The Strawberry King" was his handle during the CB era as his strawberries were the very best. Our world has lost a humble, caring man who always had a smile and was so glad to see you.
Perry is survived by his two daughters, Barbara (Bobbie) Coon of Pittsfield, and Linda Rash (David) of Hancock and 4 grandchildren: Raymond Boehm (Nancy) of St.Francis, WI; Edward Boehm of Pittsfield, MA; Perry Rash (Rebecca) and Connie Chase (Anthony) of Hancock, MA. He also leaves 6 great-grandchildren: Kaitlyn & Chloe Boehm, Kienan Knight-Boehm, Hannah & Samuel Chase and Jacob Rash; and brother Donald Whitman of Hancock.
Funeral notice: A celebration of life service will be held at the Hancock Baptist Church in the Spring.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Hancock Baptist Church or the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department in care of Linda Rash, P.O. Box 1167, Hancock, MA 01237.