Joe, to the rest of the world, Jody to his mom, was born in Chattanooga, on Aug. 18, 1961. Along with his ability to read by the age of 3, he was naturally curious and interested in things way beyond his years. He often broke down his toys to see what made them work, all to the dismay of his nannie and to the delight of his grandfather, Jack.
As his dad read the newspaper, Joe would stand on the other side and continually ask, “What is that word?”
His love for books was further nurtured by his grandmother and his constant request of, “Please, Nannie, just one more book.”
He attended Miss Chisholm’s Preschool. Again, correcting his parents one evening during dinner, that it is much nicer “if we ate with our left hand in our lap.”
He attended George R. Stuart Elementary and North Lee Elementary and graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1979. He then received his associate’s degree from Cleveland State Community College and went on to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, graduating in 1984 with degrees in math and computer science.
He immediately went to work with Digital Equipment in Atlanta.
Oh, how he and his dad loved SEC football and especially, the Tennessee Vols, and, if you look in the dictionary under “Star Trek” it says, “See Joe Whitson, Jr.,” and you must include Joe’s love of poetry often quoting Rudyard Kipling’s “IF,” his favorite hymn was, “There is a God, He is alive.” We suspect Joe truly found his “niche” in the fall of 2007 with his first contract assignment in Iraq.
The admiration he developed for these brave men and women serving their country in constant harm’s way, was apparent to all who knew him.
He would visit home and developed a love for the beach in Pensacola, Fla. Perhaps, his love for the music of Jimmy Buffet had an early influence.
Joe and two of his buddies in Cleveland, actually built a “cabin” and fittingly named it “Margaritaville,” population No. 3.
During this period, Joe discovered his love for cruising and loved traveling to Rome and to Santorini and especially, Dubai.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Albert and Bonnie Whitson and Jack and Ruth Krise, Harriman, and his younger brother, John David Whitson.
He is survived by his father, Joseph G. Whitson (Roseanne) of Cleveland; his mother, Jane Krise Nicholas (Tom) Pensacola, Fla.; and his most special group of friends. One such friend found Joe to be a friend like no other. He was amazingly intelligent, witty, funny and astute. He was also very supportive when necessary and pragmatic when the occasion called for it.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Kyker Funeral Home in Harriman.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2012, at Kyker Funeral Home Chapel in Harriman. Interment will follow in Willard Park Cemetery.
Rest in Peace, Jody.