Charles A. Wilhite, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and neighbor passed away Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Iowa City.
Mr. Wilhite was born April 6, 1930, in Udall, Kan., the son of Arthur Wilhite and Mattie (Rucker) Wilhite. He grew up in Wichita, Kan., and graduated from Wichita East High School in 1948, where he was a multisport letterman. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as an airman during the Korean War. He also wrestled more than 200 matches out of Naval Base San Diego earning All-Navy honors and winning the Pacific Fleet Championship in 1952. Following his service in the Navy, Mr. Wilhite attended Kansas State University on the GI Bill, where he wrestled before graduating from Wichita State University in 1956. While in college he married his sweetheart and wife of 66 years, Marjorie Wilhite.
Mr. Wilhite's professional career reflected his passion for athletics. He was a high school teacher and coach in Andover, Kan., for three years before beginning a long career providing recreational services for veterans first at the VA Hospital in Sheridan, Wyo., and then at the VA Hospital in Iowa City. He believed helping veterans with recreational and social interactions was an honor and a privilege. During his tenure with the VA, he also served as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor and held leadership positions with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). After retirement, he enjoyed domestic travel, reading, playing the piano, guitar and banjo with whatever country western group would have him and his daily crossword puzzles. Like many Iowans, he also enjoyed University of Iowa sports and Chicago Cubs baseball.
Mr. Wilhite is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his son, Chris and his wife, Sue, of Albuquerque, N.M.; his daughter, Connie of Miami, N.M.; his son, Jim and his wife, Carlota, of Bellevue, Wash.; his son, Jeff of Iowa City; and his granddaughter, Noelle of Aspen, Colo. He also is survived by his brother, Art of Wichita, Kan.; and his sister, Mary of Springer, N.M..
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Wilma; and his brother, John.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the First Methodist Church, where he found a genuine sense of community, or Iowa City Hospice, whose care and kindness were very meaningful in the last days of his life.
Private family services are being held through Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service. To share a thought, memory or condolence with his family, please visit www.gayandciha.com.