Robert Norton Whitaker, Sr., 81, of Enfield, NC passed away on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC, succumbing to injuries sustained in a fall.
Rob, lovingly named “Pops” by his grandsons, was born on June 11, 1940 in Nash County to Myrtle Norton and Robert Absalom Whitaker. He grew up and spent his life in Enfield, NC. Rob learned to fish and hunt at an early age, activities he enjoyed throughout his lifetime. He was among the first group of campers to attend Camp Sea Gull, where he further honed his fishing skills and learned all things sailing and boating.
Rob graduated from Riverside Military Academy and then NC State University where he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho. While at NCSU, Rob went on a blind date with a pretty ECU coed named Jane Oglesby from Morehead City. She would become the love of his life. They were married in June 1962, a month after graduating college. We’re pretty sure Rob would have married Jane even if his future mother-in-law, Dollie, did not cook the best soft-shelled crabs and homemade clam chowder!
The newlyweds made their home on Whitfield St. and soon had a son, Robert, and daughter, Martha. With his agriculture degree from NCSU and guidance from his Uncle Waldo Whitaker, Rob began his career in farming and soon progressed to cotton and commercial storage. He owned and operated Enfield Bonded Warehouse for 50 years. He later started NC Fibers, a cotton re-ginning business.
Together, Rob and Jane restored the Whitaker family home, Strawberry Hill. Through their tireless efforts, in 1980 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, an accomplishment of which they were both proud.
Rob enjoyed his garden, abundant with both vegetables and flowers. If you knew Rob, you’ve likely been the recipient of his tomatoes and okra and maybe even some zinnias. You’ve also likely attended his annual “Poppy Party” held every spring when the poppies bloomed. He said it was to show off his flowers, but it was also because Rob loved people. The more, the merrier. Everyone was welcome.
Rob loved dove hunting, duck hunting and a good fishing hole, especially Moss’s Pond and Bellamy’s Lake. He also loved a good bourbon, a pair of dice, any casino, the stock market, fried okra, boiled peanuts, cheddar cheese on a saltine cracker and all seafood, especially from the water at his beloved Topsail Beach, where he was often found watching the herons and egrets or another beautiful sunset over Topsail Sound. Thankfully, he was able to enjoy more of those than one could count.
Rob was generous and unfailingly loyal. He made friends everywhere he went and he kept them for life. More than anything else, Rob loved his family and was especially proud of his two children and his six grandsons. He will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends.
Rob was preceded in death by his wife of 36 years, Jane O. Whitaker and his brother, Cary Whitaker. He is survived by his son, Dr. Robert N. Whitaker, Jr. and his wife, Susan, of Salisbury and their sons, Benton, Braxton, Mason and Alexander; and his daughter, Martha W. Jones and her husband, David, of Enfield and their sons, Tyson and Connor.
A graveside service for Rob will be held on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 11:00 am at Whitaker’s Chapel, 5356 Thirteen Bridges Road, Enfield, NC followed immediately by a reception, outside at Strawberry Hill, 3281 Loop Road, Enfield, NC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Whitaker’s Chapel, PO Box 344, Enfield, NC 27823 or online by clicking here or to a charity of one’s choice.
Letchworth-Sykes Funeral Service in Scotland Neck is handling the arrangements for the Whitaker family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting letchworthsykesfs.com.
Date: Friday, September 3, 2021
Time: 11:00 am
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