George Whitman, 1919-2002
By Mary Clang
George E. Whitham, a University alumnus who worked for 32 years for the Cooperative Extension Service and was a two-term Mansfield mayor, died on Jan. 25. He was 82.
Whitham, who was associate director of the Cooperative Extension program when he retired in 1978, had served New London, Tolland, and Windham counties as a county agent for the service.
"George believed in involvement and in public service, and these beliefs were reflected in every facet of his life, from the Cooperative Extension System and the University, to the Town of Mansfield and even the state of Connecticut," says Anne Rideout, a cooperative extension professor emerita.
"In his quiet way, he had a special talent for getting people to work together to make things happen. George's understanding of how to develop effective public policy and his experience in working with communities led to national recognition of the University of Connecticut's Cooperative Extension System as a leader in public policy education and community resource development. "
Born in New Caanan, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II after graduating from the University.
Whitham was active in town government, as a member of the Mansfield Board of Education, and as a member of the Mansfield Town Council for 14 years, including terms as deputy mayor and mayor. He was chairman of the Regional District 19 Board of Education from its inception in 1993. He also served on the boards of directors of the Mansfield Training School, the Mansfield Historical Society, Joshua's Trust, and Windham Hospital.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dolly; six daughters, four sons and their spouses; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a sister and two brothers.
Donations may be made to Windham Hospital, 112 Mansfield Avenue, Willimantic, CT 06226, in the name of George E. Whitham, to be designated for outfitting lounges at the hospital to support the families of patients.