Timothy Whitaker


Mr. Timothy Wayne Whitaker, 75, of Keller, husband of Melba Jarvis Whitaker, passed away on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at his home in Keller.

Born on Oct. 5, 1948 in Vicksburg, Miss., he was the son of the late Ernest O. and Dorothy Graddy Whitaker.

Timothy graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. and received a master of divinity degree from Emory University. He also received two honorary doctoral degrees from Florida Southern University and Bethune-Cookman University.

Timothy served in congregations in Mississippi, Virginia, and Florida. He was the district superintendent for Norfolk, retiring after serving 12 years as bishop of the UMC in Florida.

Tim, as he was called by everyone, had many interests in life. Growing up in the forests of Redwood, Miss., he developed a lifelong appreciation of trees, skies, and all of God’s creatures. This led him to be on a continual litter patrol in his community in retirement so that others could appreciate nature as well. He also enjoyed sailing the creeks around the Eastern Shore in his small sailboat and cycling the country roads and city streets to relax his body and mind.

As a gifted theologian, Tim was able to read and understand the most obscure and difficult writings of erudite theologians from all historical periods and then translate the knowledge so that all could understand it. He also had a deep love of poetry that fed his soul throughout his life. Tim remained a teacher to all until the end of his life through writings and through his total acceptance of God’s will for him. Through this he strengthened the faith of friends and family.

Other than his wife, Melba, Timothy is survived by two sons, Steven “Scott” Whitaker and wife, Michele, of Onley, and Richard “Eric” Whitaker and wife, Mary Thao, of Tucson, Ariz.; two brothers, Clarence A. Whitaker (Betty), of Vicksburg, and Stanley E. Whitaker, of Vicksburg; and five grandsons, Thor, Ivan, Brian, Timothy, and Richard Whitaker.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 8, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. from Johnson’s United Methodist Church in Machipongo with the Rev.Curtis Lucey officiating. Interment will follow in the Johnson’s United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Scholarship Fund for Quessua, a cluster of villages, churches, and schools in the East Angola Conference of the United Methodist Church. As bishop, Tim was instrumental in establishing a covenant with this unique place and was asked by the young people there to focus on education for them. Checks can be made to “FLUMC Treasurer” with “Adv # 102020 – East Angola Scholarship” on memo line and sent to:

ATTN: Icel Rodriquez, 450 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland, FL 33815.

Arrangements are by the Thornton Funeral Home in Parksley.

To sign the guest book online, visit: www.thorntonfuneralhome.net

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