Beverly Jean Whitten

May 8, 1938July 27, 2020
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Beverly Jean Brown Whitten, 82, of Forest, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 27, 2020. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Wilbur Carrington Whitten, Jr.

Born in Port Huron, Michigan, May 8, 1938, she was the daughter of the late Joseph Brown and Edna Copeland Brown. She attended the University of Michigan and earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She retired from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette following 20 years of teaching in the English Department. She was a past member of the American Association of University Women where she served as the President of the Lafayette branch from 1988 – 1990. In 1993 she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Independent Study Grant in Literature. She and her husband retired to Lynchburg in 1995. She enjoyed history and leading tours as a docent at Poplar Forest where she volunteered for 15 years. She loved reading, studying literature, going to plays, traveling with friends, and spending time with her grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by four brothers, Charles Brown, Elwood Brown, Milton Brown and Frank Brown and two sisters, Betty Schissler and Josephine Hirst.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Paul C. Whitten and his wife Marnie of Lynchburg; her daughter, Jennifer A. Whitten and her partner Michael McElheny of Cleveland, Ohio; one sister, Gladys Kovach and her husband, Steve, of Lakeland, Florida; five grandchildren, Tyler C. Whitten, Brandon P. Whitten, Hannah E. Knowles and her husband Bryce, Avery W. Whitten and Andrew J. Whitten and a number of nieces and nephews.

A service celebrating her life will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Friday, July 31, 2020 at Whitten Timberlake Chapel with Celebrant Polly Starnes officiating. Interment will follow in Fort Hill Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends for one hour prior to the service.

Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked to consider Poplar Forest, P.O. Box 419 Forest, VA 24551-0419 or to the Salvation Army, 2215 Park Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24501.


  • Wilbur Carrington Whitten, Jr., Husband of 62 years
  • Paul C. Whitten, Son
  • Marnie B. Whitten, Daughter-in-law
  • Jennifer A. Whitten, Daughter
  • Gladys B. Kovach, Sister
  • Tyler C. Whitten, Grandson
  • Brandon P. Whitten, Grandson
  • Hannah E. Knowles and husband Bryce, Granddaughter
  • Avery Whitten, Grandson
  • Andrew Whitten, Grandson

  • Paul Whitten
  • Tyler Whitten
  • Brandon Whitten
  • Hannah Knowles
  • Avery Whitten
  • Michael McElheny
  • Andrew Whitten, Honorary Pallbearer

  • Poplar Forest
  • The Salvation Army


  • Visitation prior to the Service

    Friday, July 31, 2020

  • Celebration of Life

    Friday, July 31, 2020


Beverly Jean Whitten

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rose Howell

August 1, 2020

Paul, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Debie Dodson

August 1, 2020

Mike and I were so sorry to hear of your Mother passing. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Mike & Debie Dodson

Roger Peraldo

July 31, 2020

Paul, I hope you have lots of cherished memories of your Mom and can remember them daily. There is no one that will take care of you like your Mother.
God bless you and your family during this time. Miss seeing you!

Bob Gallagher

July 31, 2020

Paul, my condolences to you and your family

Bob Gallagher

Carole Rodgers

July 30, 2020

Dear Red, Jennifer, and Paul (and family),
I am so sorry to hear of Jean's passing. She was a wonderful fellow teacher, traveler, and friend to me for many years. I am glad she has found peace, but know you will miss her so much. You are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.
Carole Rodgers

Ed and Jessie vogt

July 30, 2020

Dear Paul and family,
Jessie and I offer you our deepest sympathy, condolences, and our love in Christ Jesus at the "passing over" of your Mom. I have learned, and perhaps you know as well, that no one loves you the way God loves you more than your Mother. That's why He creates Moms the way He does.
Ed and Jessie

Barbara Gross

July 30, 2020

Dear Uncle Red, Paul, Jennifer, and family,
Love leaves a memory forever.
A ready smile and such a beautiful laugh - one I will always remember.
So sorry to hear of Aunt Jeannie’s passing. Please accept our most sincere condolences.
God be with you and give you comfort.
With much love,
Barbara and Sheldon Gross

Donna Buchanan

July 30, 2020

Paul and family, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. I hope in days to come that your heart will be lighter and remember all the good times you shared with your Mom and family.

Ange Riehl

July 29, 2020

Love to Jennifer and Paul and Mr. Wilber. So sorry you’ve lost a most lovely woman!! Hugs and prayers for you all❣️

Peter D'Arienzo

July 29, 2020

Paul & family,

Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved mother. Cherish her memory, honor her legacy and keep her spirit alive in your family gatherings. She will be remembered in my prayers and please stay strong my friend...


Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron, MI where mom lived as a little girl. Her father worked for the Coast Guard and was caretaker of the lighthouse.



Beverly was born on May 8, 1938 at Port Huron Hospital in Port Huron, Michigan. She was the daughter of Joseph and Edna Brown. Raised in Port Huron, she was brought up to be tolerant and trustworthy. As a child, she learned to be conscientious, responsible and punctual. These were all traits that she would carry with her throughout her life.

“Seeing is believing.” For many, those words simply represent a motto. But for Beverly Jean Whitten, it summarized in every way who she was. She was modest, quiet and observant, taking in everything around her and always thinking before acting. She was a realist, someone who was efficient and practical in everything she did. She was a friendly person who truly cared about those around her.

As a young girl, Beverly was always aware of how others around her felt and this quality served her well. With a deep capacity to tolerate the feelings of others, Beverly was generally able to avoid conflicts. It seemed as if Beverly was the family member who was always working to keep stress at bay. Preferring a quiet environment where she could concentrate, Beverly also had the ability to relate well with her family and friends. She was the youngest of eight. She had four brothers, Charles, Elwood, Frank, Milton and three sisters, Josephine, Betty and Gladys. Beverly was constantly involved in activities with her family. Beverly and her siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up but they deeply cared for each other and shared many life experiences over the years.

Growing up, Beverly was one of those children who didn’t need to be in the center of a whirlwind of activity. She was content to entertain herself. Beverly was never pushy when it came to games and other activities, but rather, she was able to enjoy the pure fun these could bring. In just about everything she did as a child, Beverly was intent on pleasing both the adults and the other children around her. Beverly took part in a number of activities as a child. She liked to collect tea cups on her walks across the bridge to Canada.

Beverly enjoyed learning. She always had a great memory and was particularly skilled at retaining factual information. Beverly was generally quiet in class, learning best through observation. She often showed great concentration and was competent at completing the tasks at hand. Good with details, Beverly was painstaking and accurate in her efforts. All of these talents culminated in a successful high school career. She graduated from Port Huron High School in 1956. Beverly enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite subjects and teachers. Her favorite class in high school was english and science. She was a very good student and earned a full scholarship to the University of Michigan.

Beverly had a good disposition for the challenges of college. She always enjoyed reading, so all of those lengthy required reading assignments seemed to be less of a burden for her. In fact, Beverly seemed to absorb and remember everything she read. Not all things came easily to Beverly, however, and she found success by being a diligent and accurate person who would dig into a project and work through until it reached its completion. She was very thorough and labored long and hard in order to reach her goals. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1960. She also pursued graduate school, earning her Masters of Arts in English from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1969. Her favorite courses were American Literature.

Love can’t be defined but must be experienced. That was so true for Beverly. On August 30, 1958 Beverly married Wilbur Carrington Whitten, Jr. at Port Huron United Methodist Church of Port Huron, Michigan. She was totally committed to Wilbur and maintained traditional ideals about marriage. It was as if Beverly naturally sensed her spouse’s needs, and accepted those feelings unconditionally. Although Beverly disliked conflict, she did not take flight from discord, but rather sought to preserve harmony even during the most trying times.

Beverly was a good mother to her children. She had “old fashioned” parental values and could handle typical family conflicts in a fair and calm manner. Because she trusted emotions, Beverly was reluctant to force issues and used gentle persuasion to resolve situations. In this way she seemed to radiate an aura of warmth and caring to those around her, always thinking before acting. In addition, Beverly was a master planner. No matter how hectic life around her might be, she seemed to know and track everyone’s schedule. Beverly was blessed with two children, one son, Paul and one daughter, Jennifer. Beverly and Wilbur were also blessed with five grandchildren, Tyler, Brandon, Hannah, Avery and Andrew.

If you gave Beverly a deadline, she would meet it. At work, Beverly was always on task. Without hesitation, Beverly could adhere to any assignment and see it through to its completion. Her primary occupation was College English instructor. She was employed for 20 years at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and in 1993, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Independant Study Grant in Literature. During that time, Beverly excelled in working with small groups in order to complete assignments. She was able to quickly grasp concrete ideas and could organize and plan the best way to accomplish things with remarkable consistency. Beverly was good at staying on track and was considerate in listening to what others had to say. In this way, Beverly had a true gift for being able to come up with practical resolutions to difficult problems. She was often the team member who managed to put forth a win/win solution for all parties.

Beverly liked to experience things first hand, in addition to simply learning about them. This quality influenced Beverly's choice of leisure time activities. A methodical and patient worker, Beverly preferred to set aside uninterrupted time to work on her hobbies. Her favorite pursuits were reading and enjoyed dabbling in various crafts like pottery and crochet. Beverly was content to sit quietly alone, enjoying her hobbies all by herself and could often be found reading with a cup of tea nearby.

Due to her excellent organizational skills, Beverly was a welcome addition to the professional and community organizations to which she belonged. Beverly could bring established, successful methods to the discussion table, along with a generous helping of common sense. Beverly was good at making and keeping schedules and never got bogged down in unnecessary details. Throughout her working years, Beverly was an active member of the American Association of University Women.

Beverly was active in the community. She was practical and grounded and based her decisions on first hand experience. She was responsible and liked working to achieve results rather than just chattering about possibilities. Beverly was a member of several community groups, serving a a volunteer docent for Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's summer home for 15 years.

Anyone who traveled or went on vacation with Beverly had smooth sailing. It was often taken for granted that she was the trip planner. She would start early and examine all of the possibilities, selecting the best and most effective options. Favorite vacations included traveling with her family and everyone really enjoyed the trip to Montana. She also loved to go on cruises with her friends and taking her daughter and grandchildren to New York City.

When Beverly's retirement finally arrived in 1995, she was well prepared. She had taken the time to learn about her various options and chose her course wisely. Her new life involved relocating to Lynchburg, Virginia. In retirement, she found new pleasure in traveling to visit friends and family. Even in retirement, Beverly continued to stay in touch with her old friends while making new acquaintances. She was active in her retiremwnt and felt fulfilled with the opportunities retirement offered her.

She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Wilbur; her children Paul and Jennifer; her grandchildren, Tyler, Brandon, Hannah, Avery and Andrew; her sister Gladys and a number of nieces and nephews. Services were held at Whitten Timberlake Chapel. Beverly was laid to rest in Fort Hill Memorial Park in Lynchburg, Virginia.

It is said that some people can’t see the forest for the trees. Beverly was able to focus on each individual tree, tending to its needs, thus making the forest stronger as a whole. Beverly was a trustworthy, pragmatic and sympathetic person, the kind of woman to whom everyone was drawn. She was thorough and practical. Beverly Whitten was very literal with her words. You always knew where you stood with Beverly. Many have shared that they most remember her laugh and her kind nature. She will be missed.