Frank "Dick" Whitters
Lifelong Cedar Rapids resident Frank Richard
"Dick" Whitters, 98, died Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at his home in the presence of family members. Burial: St. John's Cemetery. Please check Teahen Funeral Home website or contact email@example.com for video streaming of the private burial service at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18. A memorial Mass will be offered at a later date.
Born Jan. 6, 1922, in Cedar Rapids to Frank and Ruth (Willson) Whitters, Dick was raised during the Depression era as the eldest son in a family of 10. Throughout his life, Dick exhibited a sense of duty, determination, and integrity as shown by his military service, his ownership of a successful business, and by his devotion to family.
When World War II broke out, Dick enlisted at age 19 and flew missions in the Pacific arena. He served as a turret gunner with the 7th Air Force in the Philippines and with the Far Eastern Air Force in China and Japan. He earned three air medals, five battle stars to the Asiatic Pacific medal, the American Defense Medal World War II Victory medal, and the good conduct medal, in addition to other awards and citations.
He returned to Iowa to attend college and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1948. Shortly afterward he started his own construction company. In the intervening 40-plus years, Whitters Home Builders built more than 600 homes, helping many families to own homes for the first time and developing numerous neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids during the post-war decades.
Dick met his life partner and greatest love while at the University of Iowa, marrying Frances Fiala on Sept. 2, 1948. He reveled in the births of their 10 children and took great joy in their accomplishments and character as they grew into adulthood. Dick was proud of his large family and encouraged his children to pursue education, individuality and service in their careers.
As his family got older, he bought a small farm in 1967 to provide the space and resources for them to raise corn and cattle and to camp, hunt and fish. Dick was active in and generously supported various church and community causes, including the Salvation Army, Association for Retarded Citizens and later Discovery Living on behalf of his son Sam, who thrived with Down syndrome until his death in 2005.
Dick was anchored in a fundamental belief that life is good despite the inevitable trials and challenges, and guided his advice to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his devoted wife, Fran; an infant son; and his beloved son, Samuel.
He is survived by eight of his children, including Tim Whitters (Kris), Mark Whitters, Al Whitters (Mona), Gina Kerwin (Peter), Matthew Whitters (Mary), Eric Whitters (Tammy), Laurie Matlin (Robert) and Janet Nowakowski (Jeffrey). He is also survived by 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, including Miranda, Aaron, Alec, Emily, Gabe, Arthur, Douglas, Andrea, Shannon, Samantha, Shayla, Calvin, Casey, Curtis, Ethan, Leah, Colton, Braedon, Corrin, Ellie Kay and Isaac.
Memorials may be directed to charities that Dick and the family supported: Salvation Army, National Association of Mental Illness, Discovery Living, Camp Courageous, and YouthWorks-Detroit, and Association for Retarded Citizens.