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Obituaries » Jack Whitelaw

Jack Whitelaw, 94, of Hume, finished his last marathon on March 9, 2021.

Born Dec. 14, 1926, in East Orange, New Jersey, he was the son of the late John and Nellie Clark McBrayne Whitelaw.

In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a sonarman in the Pacific. After the war, he attended Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn., where he lettered in varsity football. Following his graduation in 1949, he began a life-long career in government, working for the U.S. Army’s personnel department in Japan and later in the Panama Canal Zone. After his return to Washington, D.C., he worked for the National Science Foundation and then for the Smithsonian in the office of Dillon S. Ripley. He left the Smithsonian to work as an aide for Maine Senator Ed Muskie and then with Mr. Muskie and Hubert Humphrey on their 1968 presidential campaign.

In 1971, when Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut was named director of the National Air and Space Museum, and charged with building that museum on the Mall, Jack returned to the Smithsonian as his executive director, and together they opened it ahead of schedule and under budget, one of Jack’s proudest accomplishments. In 1978, Jack was chosen to be a deputy director of the National Endowment for the Humanities. During his tenure there, he was responsible for converting an antiquated grant submission and approval process to computer, greatly speeding up the sometimes years-long process, the other accomplishment of which he was most proud. On his retirement from government service in 1982, he went to work for Vought Aircraft (later Lockheed Martin), where he worked with NASA on Scout missile launches, finally retiring in 1996. During his tenure at Vought, he served on President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control.

Jack was an avid runner and completed numerous marathons, including the Marine Corps (five times), New York and Baltimore marathons. In his retirement, he was able to travel the world extensively with his wife, Anne, and was active in community service, participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program (keeping a substantial portion of Route 635 litter free for more than five years), and being an active member and past president of the Leeds Ruritan Club at Hume. He served as the president of the Tusculum College Alumni Association. He was a member of Leeds Episcopal Church. Jack volunteered with the Red Cross as a shelter volunteer after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and again after the hurricane and floods in Texas. He was most invested for years as a faithful volunteer in the Fauquier Community Food Bank, where he helped improve the facility and untiringly sought donations to feed the hungry.

Jack was predeceased by his first wife, Beverly Bryant; a daughter, Carolyn Helen; his brother, Thomas, and his sister, Mary Margaret.

He is survived by his daughter, Alison of Chicago, and his wife, Anne, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to the Fauquier Community Food Bank, 249 E. Shirley Ave., Warrenton, Va. 20186.

Condolences may be offered at www.moserfuneralhome.com.
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