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Obituary for James Robert Whitson
James Robert Whitson, 93, of Urbana, formerly of rural Dallas City, IL, passed away on Friday, January 30, 2015, at Champaign County Nursing Home. Funeral services will be private with a family memorial service to be held at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by Krabel Funeral Home, Oakland, IL. Internment will be at the historic Byler Cemetery in Durham Township, Hancock County, IL.
Robert Whitson was born June 8, 1921, near Rushville, IL, the son of Guy Francis and Myrtle Haley Whitson. He married Genevieve Vass, August 28, 1943, in New York City. He is survived by his spouse; their three children, Roxanne Frey (John) of Oakland, Valerie Johnson of Rockford, and Michael Whitson (Bonnie),of West Des Moines, IA; five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren; five brothers, Lyle of Windham, ME, John of Branson, MO, William of Springfield, MO, Walter of Niota, IL, and David of West Melbourne, FL; four sisters, Margaret Marshall of Springfield, MO, Zelma Peter of Grand Blanc, MI, Nora Howell of Carthage, IL, and Ann Brandt of Springfield, MO.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Sarah Kipping, his son-in-law David Johnson, three brothers-in-law, and one sister-in-law.
Robert graduated from Carthage High School in 1938 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1940-1948. He graduated from Great Lakes Navy Training Center and was assigned to the U.S.S. Milwaukee and then to the U.S.S. Herndon. While serving aboard the U.S.S. Herndon he took part in the invasions of Sicily, Normandy, and Southern France. He ended his Navy career with nearly three years of shore duty as an instructor at the San Diego Navy Training Center.
After separating from the service, Robert and his family moved back to Illinois where he farmed for several years in Durham Township, Hancock County. He also worked at Champion Spark Plug and General Electric in Burlington, IA, and then at Bower Roller Bearing in Macomb, IL, before becoming a professional insurance agent. After retiring from the insurance industry he worked at Target and Farm King.
He was a member of the Colusa United Methodist Church for over 50 years where he was a Sunday school teacher and finance chairman but transferred to Faith United Methodist Church when he moved to Champaign. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge in Burnside, IL, the American Legion of Dallas City, IL, and served two terms on the school board of the Dallas City schools.