Obituary of CMSgt. James Russell Whaley, USAF (Ret) ~ 2005
Source: Jacksonville Daily News Feb 17 2005
As dawn broke on Sunday morning, Feb. 13, 2005, James Russell Whaley rose
from his bed, donned his Air Force dress blues, walked to his work shed
and climbed aboard his cut tractor. His last drive took him down his hill
and through heaven's gates, arriving in time to spend Valentine's Day with
his beloved Kathy.
His early life of 77 years, eight months, and 16 days was complete.
"Daddy" was born in Richlands, North Carolina on Wednesday, May 28, 1927,
the ninth child of the late Shirley Otis Whaley Sr. and his wife, Clara
On June 9, 1951, at the home of the late Rev. Lester L. and Mertie Shepard
King, he took as the love of his life, Kathaleen Joy King, who preceded
him into glory in 2000.
Their earthly union of 49 years and six days was laced with mutual trust,
respect and deep affection.
Other heavenly greeters were Louise and Raymond Williams, Otis and Mary
Lois Whaley, Sadie Nimmo Gerstemier, William Nimmo, Walter Gerstemier,
Vivian and Oswald Troldahl, Robert Whaley, S.O. (Shirl) Whaley Jr.,
Dorothy Whaley, Rosemary Whaley, and three infant brothers.
"Daddy" was a 1945 graduate of Richlands High School.
In 1946, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, which later became the United
States Air Force.
His military career included tours of duty in Florida, Georgia, Japan,
England, North Africa, Guam, Canada and North Carolina with retirement in
His second career began with employment with the Onslow County Board of
Education in the heating and air conditioning field, retiring in 1986.
Thus began his third and final career -- serving as "Papa" to his four
grandchildren -- a career with no retirement in sight.
A faithful member of the First Baptist Church, he enjoyed fellowship in
his Adult Men's Sunday school class, his cooking team, the Baptist men,
youth Sunday school teacher, and as a member of various church committees.
Other interests involved travel, family reunions, gardening, the History
Channel, and the second love of his life -- deer hunting with the "boys".
Now missing a deer cannot be blamed on poor eyesight or a bent scope.
Happy hunting, Daddy!
Cherishing their memories of him are his son, James Michael Whaley of
Leland; daughter and son, Rita Kathryn and Lt. Col. (Ret) Philip Lee Koppa
(USAF) of the home; daughter and son, Doris Elaine and Lt. Col. Barry John
Cousler (USAF) of Bellevue, Neb.
"Papa's" four "prides" are Riley Elizabeth Joy Koppa, Cadet 4C Christopher
Barry Cousler (USAF), Deborah Elaine Cousler and Connor Phillip James
Koppa; brother, Harry Lee Whaley of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; brother and
sister-in-law, CMSgt. (Ret) Leland Whaley (USAF) and Dr. Mary Anne Hall
of Woodstock, Ga.; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Whaley of Valley, Ala., and
Rose Whaley of Jacksonville; as a member of the King family, sister-in-law,
Leatrice Crews of Richlands; brother and sister-in-law, the Rev. Ottis L.
and Nancy King of Teachey; brother-in-law, AO2 (Ret) Vernon Crews (USN) of
Richlands; numerous nieces, nephews and extended relatives of the Whaley,
King, Cavanaugh and Shepard families.
Per "Daddy's" request, visitation will only be at his home.
A celebratory service of his life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005,
at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Richlands with Dr. Donald
Christian and the Rev. Norman Aycock officiating.
A committal service with full military honors will follow at the Coastal
Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
Serving as active pallbearers are Lt. Col. Barry Cousler, Cadet 4C
Christopher Cousler, Kenneth Williams, Rick Troldahl, Malcolm Havenski,
Alan Crews, Don Crews and Eddie King.
Honorary pallbearers are Lt. Col. (Ret) Philip Koppa, Connor Koppa, Riley
Koppa, Deborah Cousler, his nieces and nephews, AO2 (Ret) Vernon Crews,
CMSgt. (Ret) Everette English, Ronnie Cox, and Troy Futral.
His family extends heartfelt appreciation to his relatives, friends, the
congregation of the First Baptist Church and the Richlands community for
their endless support, love, and prayers.
A special note of appreciation is extended to Drs. Edgardo Bianchi,
Terrance Wolanski, Ronald Hammock and Lisa Dabney, Onslow Memorial
Hospital nursing and support staff, Onslow County Home Health and Hospice,
particularly to Judy Mitchum, Mary Jane Melton and Tina Marshburn.
To "Peter Rabbit" and "Minnie Mouse," you know how special you are to our
In lieu of flowers, "Daddy" requested that memorials be addressed to the
Scholarship Fund, First Baptist Church, 100 Rand St., Richlands, N.C. 28574.
All arrangements are through Jones Funeral Home of Jacksonville under the
direction of Mr. Bart Jones.
Internet condolences for the family can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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