Howard Ralph Whitney

February 19, 1941November 2, 2019

On Saturday, November 2, Howard Ralph Whitney, 78, passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side. Howard was born on February 19, 1941, in a county jail in Newfane, Vermont. After years of letting his children think their grandmother was a criminal, he revealed that the jail doubled as a hotel, both of which were operated by his paternal grandparents. Howard lived in this jail-hotel with his brother and mother while his father served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Howard had fond memories of his time there, such as enjoying his mother’s rhubarb pie and being babysat by the inmates.

After the war, the family settled in Springfield, Vermont. At Springfield High School, where he graduated in 1959, Howard was a talented athlete and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball, though later in life not all of his athletic endeavors were as successful, including the time he dropped a barbell on his face at the gym and calmly walked himself across the street to the hospital for stitches. He was also an avid golfer and even briefly dabbled in tae-kwon-do. Sadly, his children will forever remember the sight of their father wearing a groin cup over his dobok.

Howard enjoyed a close relationship with his brother Chuck. In high school, they were teammates on the court and in the field. In college, they became fraternity brothers in the Nu Epsilon Zeta fraternity at Northeastern University, where Howard earned his BA in Economics in 1964 and where he was first introduced to beer. Howard developed a close relationship with beer over the years, but only with beer with flavor and not beer that was, as he said, “basically water.” Chuck left New England for California to pursue a PhD, and not to be outdone by his brother, Howard also moved to the west coast for graduate school. He earned his PhD in Economics in 1971 from the University of Oregon.

Howard dedicated over 40 years of his life to teaching. His first teaching job was at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. When he settled in central Ohio, Howard taught finance and economics courses in undergraduate and MBA programs at Franklin University, Capital University, and Ashland University. One of his favorite classes to teach, Financial Markets, gave him the opportunity to take hundreds of students over the years to Chicago to visit financial institutions such as the Chicago Board of Trade, Moody’s, and the Federal Reserve Bank. Former students will be glad to know that the souvenirs from these trips, such as bags of shredded money from the Money Museum, served as his home decor and were displayed in the most prominent areas of his house.

As he approached retirement, eager to escape the cold Ohio weather, Howard purchased a winter home in a Bradenton, Florida retirement community. After a few years as a snowbird, Howard traded the warm, humid Ohio summers for the hot, humid Florida summers. It’s not lost on his children that he passed on the last day of Daylight Savings Time, the symbolic end of summer. They are certain he couldn’t bear another Florida winter with temperatures reaching down into the mid 70s.

Howard enjoyed serving his community as an elected public official. In 2001, Howard was elected Auditor of the City of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. As City Auditor, he developed a number of capital improvement projects along the city’s Main Street with the goal of bringing more businesses and jobs to the city. Years later, he cited these accomplishments as he campaigned for the high-stakes position of Treasurer of his retirement community. Once elected, he used his economics expertise to diversify the community’s investments and strengthen its financial future, but his proudest achievement was the acquisition of a rail grip cover for the community pool. He took seriously his role in the community, especially his self-appointed job as keeper of the pool thermometer, making sure the water temperature never dipped below 88 degrees. In fact, residents of his community may be surprised to learn their community center has a swimming pool, not a hot tub.

Throughout his life, Howard taught himself a range of skills, one of which was woodworking. Howard spent countless hours in his workshop making tables, shelves, and even holiday decorations. Every December, he proudly displayed in his front yard a 10-foot Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer he made in his workshop. Neighbors were probably sad but more likely relieved when unseasonal high winds toppled Rudolph and rendered him unsalvageable. Howard also taught himself to play the piano and guitar.

His favorite hobby was singing karaoke at local bars. Always the educator, Howard would often preface his songs with a short lecture, such as the origins of political campaign jingles before performing “M.T.A.” by The Kingston Trio. Some of his most-requested hits include “Day-O” and “Sweet Caroline.” Alternatively, some of his most-requested songs never to sing include “All My Exes Live in Texas” and “I’m My Own Grandpa.”

Howard’s greatest source of pride was being a loving, dedicated father to his six children.

Howard is preceded in death by mother Mirth Arlene and father Charles. He is survived by his children Brandi (Dac) Tran, Chelsi (Tony) Arrigo, Nick, Kristy, Kelly (Zachary), and Tracy (Jason) Workman; brother Chuck and sister-in-law Ali; 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren; a niece, nephew, and great nieces and nephews; cousins; and former wife and close friend Mary (Kelly) Whitney.

In lieu of flowers, we invite you to donate to Tidewell Hospice or to your local hospice facility.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019, from 6pm-10pm at The Old Blue Rooster Event Center, 11565 Lithopolis Rd NW, Lithopolis, OH.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Howard Ralph Whitney

have a memory or condolence to add?

Maggie Lockridge

November 11, 2019

Wink was the most handsome man in our class, according to me. Always a soft steady approach to life and a truly smart mind. He stayed in touch via Classmates and I saw him for the first time since HS at our 50th reunion. One of the few people I still recognized, we had all changed so much. We have all lost a truly accomplished man. I’m shown here with my sweetie, Ron Fairly, who the world lost to cancer on Oct 29 of this year.

Pat and Mary Herdell

November 10, 2019

Howard will always be remembered as our pool buddie and friend . The three of us talked for hours on solving the problems of the world! Of course as we floated around the pool that we all agreed 88-90 degrees was the right temperature. We will always remember our cruise in his last year as he was suburb on karaoke night. He stole the show!! You truly shed your light of life on us and many others in your lifetime. Condolences to his lovely family.

Mary and pat Herdell

November 10, 2019

Dale & Mary Dart

November 8, 2019

How fortunate we were to have had Howard in our life in Florida, always smiling & a witty answer & always watching that pool thermometer. We will miss him terribly. Our sincere condolences to the family, he was a great man

Susan Blanke

November 8, 2019

We met Howard several times when he lived near us in Reynoldsburg and later on when his daughter Chelsi lived in Grove City. I remember his smiling eyes and wit. My husband and I sure loved his daughter Chelsi and we know how very much he will be missed. This is the most amazing and real obit I’ve ever read. Wow...what a life, what a brilliant and talented man...he sure sang great karaoke!

Jerry Nelson

November 8, 2019

Dr. Whitney-or Professor, or 'Wink'-was a regular visitor with his Ashland & Capital classes to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, where it was my privilege to host and address his groups for many years., as well as join them for their dinners @ Buddy Guy's, Fogo De Chao, et cetera. An interesting & congenial guest, his retirement was our loss. He would continue to occasionally correspond on Facebook for years thereafter, and will leave a void.

Jack Silberer

November 8, 2019

Enjoyed Howard (and his songs ) Great guy he n in

W Hines

November 8, 2019

I was introduced to Howard by Mary during the first years of my career in Reynoldsburg. Can’t remember a time that I came into contact with Howard and we didn’t exchange funny stories (that became our thing) and whenever I saw or heard something hilarious, I couldn’t wait to see him to see if I could top his funnies. Great human being!

Gordon McGinnis

November 8, 2019

To Chuck,Ali and all Wink's relatives and friends,
Wink was my fraternity brother at NEZ and fellow "native Vermonter". Jane and I wish to pass on our condolences at this time. We've had a lot of good times-especially at fraternity gatherings in Ft .Myers and attending RedSox/Northeastern gatherings.We will always remember our good friend Wink.We grew up in Wilmington Vt near that "jail".