Robert Edward Whitam, 86, passed away Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at the Renaissance Health Center in Olmsted Twp., with his beloved wife, Patricia (nee Heitman) by his side. He was born in Bar Harbor, Maine on November 3, 1925 to John W. Jr. and Ellen (nee Williams).
Bob traveled at an early age to Panama Canal Zone with his parents, where he attended school and then received an appointment in the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) as a cadet Midshipman. During Third Class, he sailed with American Export Line on a Liberty ship and C-3 transports. Bob was a member of the elite Red White and Blue swimming team of the Panama Canal, where he received several gold and silver metals participating in the Pan American games in South America and with the Academys first intercollegiate team. In 1946, Bob went back to sea, sailing on several freighters and coming out of the shipyard on the new passenger liner the SS Constitution, after five years with his Chief Engineers license. In 1956, he joined Babcock and Wilcox as a Senior Service Engineer in the Marine Department, becoming the Manager of the Marine Department in 1968. Bob retired in 1987 and became a Consultant on marine matters.
Bob is survived by his wife, Patricia; sons, Glenn R. and Gary S. Whitam; and daughter, Robin Mannila, all of Ohio; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brother, John W. Whitam II (Rosemarie) of Minnesota; sister, Patricia Copeland (Paul) of Long Island, New York; cousin, Alfred (Bud) Patten (Nell) of Florida; and many friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Bob was well known and will be long remembered for his wisdom, uncanny wit and social demeanor.
Preceding him in death were his parents; and his older brother, John W. Whitam, who died at infancy.
The family invites friends to a Memorial Gathering Sunday, November 18, 2012, from 12 Noon until 3 P.M., at Rustic Hills Country Club, 5399 River Styx Rd. Medina, 44256. The phone number at Rustic Hills is 330-725-4281. Beverages and snacks will be served, in Celebration of Bobs life. Carlson Funeral Home, 3477 Medina Road, Medina, has been entrusted with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the U.S. Merchant Marine Alumni Foundation, P.O. Box 222011, Great Neck, NY, 11022 or to The Renaissance Residents Association, 26376 John Road, Olmsted Twp. OH 44138.