Charles Leighton Whitaker
Wednesday December 20th at 1:00 P.M.
Christmas day in Acorn, 1940 was extra special. A boy was born whose mother gave three names which was an oddity in their family: Charles Leighton Whitaker. Upon hearing that long name, his older brother Ferrell proclaimed, “Mom that name is going to kill him! I’m gonna call him CL.” And that is how everyone knew him from that day to this.
He grew up in the country with the love of his father Neece Whitaker and mother Myrtle Woodall Whitaker whom he greeted with great joy on Wednesday, December 13th in Heaven. His siblings were his closest friends and those he joined on Wednesday include: Ferrell Whitaker, Neece Whitaker Jr., Dearl Whitaker, Buene Whitaker, Charlene (Whitaker) Barber, and Yvonne (Whitaker) Short who, no doubt, was made ten times happier to see her baby brother.
There are many here to celebrate the life he lived and cherish his memory. Aundra Whitaker, his loving wife of 54 years of Somerset, KY. His brother and best friend Norris Whitaker of Somerset, KY. His brother-in-law and brother by love David Burdine of Somerset, KY. His daughters whom he absolutely adored: Julie Wood (Ralph) of Clarksville, TN, Amy Soehnlein (Christian) of Somerset, KY, and Alicia Spears (Owen) of Somerset, KY. He also had grandchildren; Donna Wood, Kole Woodall, and Kaiden Woodall and many cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that lit his days with love and happiness.
He loved animals and had many furbabies who will miss him dearly. Among those are Molly Wolly, Lulu, Lucy, Charlie, and Sammie Sam otherwise known as the “Papaw Cat”. Granddogs: Chloe, Kricket, and Lily. Grandcats: Skittles, Merlin, and Fred. Plenty of babies greeted him on the Rainbow Bridge including Freckles, Maggie, Brandon, Cougar, and his beloved Daisy Dog.
He loved his country and followed a tradition of service in his family by going into the Navy – because the Air Force recuiter was out to lunch when he went to the office. He served in Vietnam on board the USS Constellation CV-64 and had reached the rank of E6 by the time of his honorable discharge in 1965. Among his many military achievements, he was recognized for his bravery in combat with a Bronze Star.
Upon returning home, he started a career working in coal mining in the Somerset area and then found his calling in heavy-machine operating with Ohio Operating Engineers. He was a staunch union man and believed, above all, that hard work was the most honorable thing in life. He
enjoyed his work completely and was happiest working on a project. He touched many lives during his career who remember his dedication, work ethic, and fairness toward others.
When he was home from Ohio, he loved being with people. He enjoyed conversation and loved to talk over a cup of coffee. He would spend time with friends shooting pool, going to car auctions, and talking about the events of the day as well as reminiscing about the good ol’ days when he could walk to town and see movies at the Virginia for a dime and grabbing a burger at the Crystal Kitchen for a nickel.
He enjoyed driving around to the local car lots on the weekends with his daughters, as well as eating a picnic lunch on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon with his family. His friends and family will remember many chats with him and his laughter that would fill a room to its brim lifting every spirit along with it.
He believed deeply in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and shared that devotion as a member of Flat Lick Baptist Church. He was also a 32nd degree Mason and member of the Scottish Rite and member of the Somerset Mason Lodge #111. He also deeply believed in the democratic process and never missed voting in any election. He attended almost every City Council meeting and was quick to share his thoughts always in support of working people.
His constitution was always that of looking forward to what was next; what new things there would be to see, what things there would be to work toward, and what happy experiences were just on the horizon. Christmas is a time to celebrate and represents salvation and the promise of more light in our days. He was truly a Christmas baby, with all of the wonder, hope, and faith in what great things tomorrow would bring. While he will be missed, he is forever loved and his legacy reminds us to keep looking toward the light.
He will be celebrated at Southern Oaks Funeral Home in Somerset, KY on Wednesday December 20th and laid to rest at Acorn Cemetery in Acorn, KY with a reception to follow that all are welcome to attend. Visitation will be held at 12:00 pm followed by services at 1pm at Southern Oaks Funeral Home. Flowers will be welcomed by the family at Southern Oaks. Military Honors will be conducted by American Legion Honor Guard Post# 38.