Surrounded by loving family, James La Verne Whitworth passed peacefully from this life on to an eternity with Martha Lee, his wife of 72 years.
Services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 at the Corcoran Community Church of the Nazarene, 1201 Letts Avenue in Corcoran. Burial will follow at a later date.
James passed away Feb. 11 in Visalia, following a short illness. He was 95 years old.
Also known as “Tennessee,” and “Uncle Pete,” James was born Nov. 2, 1926, in Marmaduke. Ark., and was raised in and around Marmaduke, Rector and Paragould, Ark.
James enlisted in the Army Air Force toward the end of World War II and was a member of the elite 554 Military Police, whose mission was to guard the blueprints for the first atomic weapon used in the defense of America. He also was assigned to guard German prisoners of war in Memphis, TN.
James met his one true love and wife of 72 years when Martha was 17. They married when she turned 18 in 1947, traveling to Roseville, GA on $20 he borrowed from his future father-in-law. James said it was the best $20 he’d ever spent.
After the birth of their first child, Brenda, they moved to California, where James worked as a truck driver and mechanic for Dyer trucking before taking a job with Billy Boswell as a field and shop mechanic. He then took a position as director of maintenance, transportation and grounds for Corcoran Unified School District, where he remained until his retirement in 1972.
Their retirement years were some of the happiest of their lives, often traveling the four corners of the United States in their “Gypsie” van, stopping and visiting friends and relatives along the way.
In addition to Martha, he was preceded in death by his beloved Millie; mother, Molinda Gonser Whitworth and father, John Henry Whitworth. He was also preceded by three brothers, Darrel, Merle and Bobby Whitworth, as well as numerous aunts and uncles and cousins.
He is survived by his daughter, Brenda Moore and husband Ron of Visalia; son Randy Whitworth of Visalia; and son Ken Whitworth and wife Leah of Hanford. He is also survived by grandchildren, Heather Lucio and husband Mark; Joshua Moore and wife Melissa; Jeremy Chrisman, all of Visalia. Amanda Whitworth of Tullahoma, TN; Eric Whitworth and wife Kaylene of Central Point, OR; Kelsi Pruitt and husband Andy of Tulare; Cameron Whitworth and Samantha Whitworth both of Hanford; Rochelle Konecny and husband Daniel of Ashland, OR; great-grandchildren, Zane Whitworth and Jaxson Whitworth of Central point, OR; Jayden Zaldivar of Tulare; Brandan Loyd and wife Jennifer of Visalia; Karsten Moore of Visalia; Cody Chrisman of Fresno; River and Sydney Whitworth of Tullahoma, TN; Hayden and Haley Whitworth of Modesto; Emili and Darbi Dowling of Ashland, OR; and great great grandson Draven Loyd of Visalia.
He was loved tremendously and his kindness and compassion will be missed by all.