Duane L. Whitten

Born: Tue., Apr. 12, 1932
Died: Wed., Sep. 9, 2015

Lunch Following Service

Celebration of Life

11:00 AM Mon., Sep. 21, 2015
Location: Vert Auditorium

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Duane Whitten

April 12, 1932 – September 9, 2015


Duane Leonard Whitten was born in Baker City, OR on April 12, 1932, to Walter Leonard Whitten and Wilma Irene (Kennedy) Whitten.  He grew up on a ranch near Keating, OR, attended a one-room school in Keating, and delivered milk pulling a small wagon for his grandparents in Pondosa, OR.  He went to Baker City as a freshman in high school.  The family then moved to Joseph, OR, where Duane finished high school and met June Walker, his future wife.  They were married September 13, 1953, at the First Methodist Church in Joseph.

Duane completed his B.S. in Education at Eastern Oregon College in 1954, and taught in Baker City.  He then joined the U.S. Army.  After training at Fort Ord and Fort Knox, Kentucky, he graduated from radio school in the top five of his class and was allowed to choose the location of his next assignment.  After a brief discussion with June, they decided to go to Germany.  He was stationed near Mannheim.  They purchased a Volkswagen and traveled on every possible leave Duane could earn.  They greatly enjoyed touring most of the European Countries.

After returning to the states in 1957, Duane taught in Island City while June finished her education.  They then met Rudy Rada and Wally McCrae and were both hired to teach in the Pendleton School District in 1960.  Duane completed his M.S. in Education at Eastern Oregon College.  In 1965, he was appointed principal at McKay Elementary School.  He later was principal at West-Hills-Lincoln and many years at Washington Elementary School.  He prided himself with excellent relationships with the students, staff, and parents in his schools. 

June and Duane had two sons, Brian and Greg.  Every year, after baseball season, the family packed up a travel trailer and went fishing and camping on the Oregon Coast and British Columbia.  They spent one summer at a remote location out of Fort St. James, BC where the fishing was great and the boys regularly “fell” off the dock into the lake.

After retirement from the school district, Duane and June bought a motor home and had many wonderful trips.  Most memorable were helping with birding tours into Mexico and touring into Guatemala with a motor home group.  They also traveled to Australia, New Zealand and many Central and South American countries on birding tours.  The National Parks of the U.S. were also the point of many trips, traveling to over 50 parks, including all of the Hawaiian and Alaskan Parks. 

Duane is survived by a brother, Gerald Whitten and his wife, Darlene of Tigard, OR, and a sister Darlene Whitten of Sacramento, CA.  He is also survived by his wife, June, and sons Brian and Greg and their families.  Brian and Holly and children Christa and Rex Knight and their son, Noah; Cody Wise and Wyatt Whitten; Greg and Jana and their children: Kelly and Stephanie Jobes and their children, Dean, Liam and Turner; Leelyn and Chris Zucker and their children Madison, Brooklyn, and Dawson; Tucker and Cheyenne Whitten, and Logan Whitten.

Duane enjoyed golf and was a member of the Pendleton Country Club since the 1960’s.  He loved the Blue Mountains, elk hunting from his property near Meacham, and many pleasant trips to the Wallowa Lake cabin.  He belonged to the Elks, Morrow-Umatilla Retired Educator’s Association, VFW, and Pendleton Bird Club.  He was also a BIL for the P.E.O. Chapter EM.  He enjoyed the camaraderie of two coffee groups, one of retired educators and the other of “old” friends.  He resumed leather tooling, especially in his later years, and loved making belts and billfolds for friends and family.  He raised wonderful tomatoes and often had the first ripe tomato in Pendleton. 

He was a great sports fan and regularly attended local high school sports events.  Baseball was his favorite to watch where he had his own parking place at Bob White Field.  He also enjoyed watching sports on TV with golf being his favorite. 

A Celebration of Life for Duane will be held Monday, September 21st at 11:00 AM at the Vert Auditorium. Lunch will be served in the Vert Club Room following the service.  For those who wish, contributions may be made to the Duane L. Whitten Memorial PHS Baseball Scholarship at Columbia Bank, 2101 SW Court Place, Pendleton, OR 97801 or Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, PO Box 489, Pendleton.  Sign the online condolence book at www.burnsmortuary.com  

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Condolence Booklet

Lori Hardgrave (Blackwell)
   Posted Fri September 11, 2015
I remember Mr. Whitten as a the principal of my school when I attended Washington. He had a presence although was always kind. He will be missed.

My sincerest condolences to the family.
Lori Blackwell-Hardgrave

Joyce (Kendrick) Dorsett
   Posted Sun September 13, 2015
Mr. Whitten was my principal at McKay some 40+ years ago. What a kind and gentle man. With loving and grateful memories, my thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Whitten (my 5th grade teacher) and the family, Joyce (Kendrick) Dorsett

car and connie sager
   Posted Sun September 13, 2015
June and family...Connie and I are sad to hear about Duane..He was a good friend to us and we cherish him being a good friend..I will always remember the good times we had. May God be with you and yours during this hard time... Carl

Karen and Gary Prout
   Posted Tue September 15, 2015
June and family,
We wish to say how we will miss Duane. Surely not as much as you, but we felt we had more "getting acquainted" to do. Our sincere sympathy and prayers for you and your family.

Becky Martin
   Posted Thu September 17, 2015
I have thanked God that when I came to teach in Pendleton, Duane was my principal. He provided a great atmosphere that was encouraging, flexible and provided freedom and support. He was a great boss and friend. My sympathy and prayers to you, June, and the family.
Becky Martin

Keith and Sharon Blanchard
   Posted Thu September 17, 2015
June, Brian, Greg and family, When we moved to Pendleton, Duane was my across the hall mentor at Washington. I will always be grateful for his help, advise and friendship that helped me through my first year of teaching. I was very fortunate to work with him again as an elementary counselor when he was transferred back to Washington as principal. Please know Sharon, Kent, Lori, Scot and I are thinking of you and pray that HIS grace and comfort will be with as you grieve the loss of such a caring and gracious man.

Jean O'Neill Albrich
   Posted Sun September 20, 2015
So sad to hear of Duane's passing. This was so much a memory moment as Duane and I as administrator's became quite close especially during superintendent turmoil in 16R. He truly was a gentleman and fun person to know. Through my 16 years in 16R, Duane knew all the quiet answers ....and we all laughed. A wonderful friend. A wonderful wife and of course son's and daughter....and those grandkids! I respected him very much. I enjoyed supervising his son Brian. Things like this remind all of us of the kindnesses that were shared by these type of wonderful people. We know that we need to share many things to others and pass his kindness model forward. I will miss his friendship. My hugs to June and family and my prayers for all. I am unable to travel at this time, but in the future I hope to express my sympathy in a more personal way. God bless all of you and my Irish prayers for you.. JeanE O-A

Karen King
   Posted Sun September 20, 2015
Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.

eleventh hour warrior
   Posted Mon September 21, 2015
We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our hearts and prayers.

Daisy Cochran
   Posted Mon October 05, 2015
Duane was my principal when I taught at Washingon Annex, 40 years ago. He was a kind, caring and gentle man and a great administrator. With many wonderful memories, my thoughts go out to my dear friend and colleague, June Whitten, and the family.
Hugs! Daisy

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