NORMAN — Benjamin Franklin Whitney, 76, died Tuesday, July 17, 2012, as a result of pancreatic cancer.
A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Saturday at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman.
Ben was born Sept. 3, 1935, in Hobart to Gerald Osborne and Sarah Pernicia Hobbs Whitney. In childhood, Ben moved to Tulsa, where he graduated from Central High School and then earned degrees in geology and geophysics from the University of Tulsa.
He enjoyed a long career in the oil industry that started at Sinclair and ended at Amerada Hess.
He later moved to Norman, where he earned an MBA from the University of Oklahoma. He contributed to the artistic life of the community through working as a docent at the Fred Jones Jr. Art Museum, specializing in guiding classes of fourth graders in the appreciation of art and through participation in and support of barbershop music.
He served as president of the OK Chorale and sang in several barbershop quartets, including the Silver Foxes and Bremen Town Musicians.
Ben was preceded in death by his second wife, Kerry Lynne (Salmon) Whitney.
When Ben’s children find interesting rocks and fossils, and they all do, they think of him.
He is survived by Cherie Miller, whose friendship he cherished and whose influence made him, in his words, a “kinder, gentler person;” sons and daughters-in-law Paul and Julie Whitney of Richland, Wash., Dan and Suzanne Whitney of Richmond, Texas, and Sam and April Whitney of Richmond, Texas; daughters and sons-in-law Sarah and Tim McNamara of Lafayette, La., Amy Whitney and Joe Dirnberger of Kennesaw, Ga., Beth and Corey Chenoweth of Fort Worth, Texas, Meg and Mitchell Brimmer of Tulsa and Jo Whitney of Choctaw; stepchildren Lauren and Andy Marshall of Cleveland and Scott Meek of Dallas; grandchildren Kelly (and Casey), Rhea, David, Laura, Jacob, Zachary, Blake, Lauren, Ryan, Megan, John, Katie, Daniel, Kacy (and Brandon), Tommy, Corey, Mac, Sarah, T.J., Jessica, Jennifer, Abraham, Lucy, Jacqueline and Roman; great-grandchildren Jill and Antaeus; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Gerry and Martha Whitney and Philip and Marsha Whitney; the mother of his children, Martha Nadine (Wright) Shaw; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art — University of Oklahoma, one of Ben’s favorite charities.
Norman Transcript, Tuesday, July 24, 2012