OBITUARY

Eugene Dennis Wilhoit

January 28, 1931February 10, 2019
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Eugene Dennis Wilhoit was called home to be with the Lord on February 10, 2019. He was born in Frankfort, Kentucky on January 28, 1931 to the late Dr. Dennis Wilhoit, M.D. and Emma Risk Wilhoit of Bagdad, Kentucky.

He is survived by his wife, Verla Walton Wilhoit of Victoria, Texas; his son, Michael Wilhoit of Austin, Texas; stepson, Jeffrey Spearman , and his wife, Debra, of Katy, Texas and their children, Ryan Spearman (Elizabeth) of Sugar Land, Texas, and Lauren Thurston (Matthew) of Spicewood, Texas, and four great-grandchildren, Ansley and Caleb Spearman, and Samuel and Violet Thurston. He was preceded in death by brothers, Filmore and Buford Wilhoit; sisters, Anna Wilhoit and Lorraine Russell.

Gene received a B.S. degree in Industrial Chemistry in 1953 and a Ph. D. degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Kentucky in 1956. His graduate research work was devoted to electrochemistry and he published numerous articles covering his work in major scientific journals.

He joined Dupont in August 1956 in Wilmington, Delaware and worked on physical chemistry of polymers prior to serving his military obligation in 1957 at Redstone Arsenal where he was assigned to the Army’s rocket fuel research program. Upon returning to DuPont he began researching a new process for nylon intermediates. In collaboration with John Sloan (DuPont Engineer) they demonstrated the first electrochemical synthesis of a major chemical used in nylon manufacture . DuPont did not commercialize the discovery but two years later Monsanto developed the technology and installed large scale plants using the concept which is operating today.

In 1958, Gene moved to Orange, Texas where he pursued research on a specialty chemical now being manufactured at Victoria. From 1967 to 1975 he held Research Management positions at the Victoria Plant and then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina as General Technical Manager for polyester chemicals. In late 1981 he returned to the Victoria plant as a Research Fellow. On January 5, 1982, Dr. Denton Cooley performed open heart surgery on him which was very successful . Gene continued his career with DuPont until his retirement in 1994. After retirement he continued to serve as a DuPont consultant for several years.

His research and technical management philosophy was to develop new technology which would have significant scientific merit plus credible economical benefits. He believed industrial research should have a business focus with well defined financial, safety and environmental/human benefits which can be measured in finite time. He enjoyed working with professional chemists and engineers to achieve these goals.

During his DuPont career numerous patents were issued to him and his colleagues and are being used in large industrial plants in U.S. and foreign countries. He was elected to the American Men of Science and recognized by The New York Academy of Sciences for his academic research and DuPont accomplishments. Gene enjoyed and played basketball at University Kentucky for Adolph Ruppand. He enjoyed a fast game of tennis as well as golf, and fishing with his son, Michael gave him great pleasure. Art (painting) and classical music fascinated him. His wife, Verla, is a very good artist with special skills in palette knife work and a very accomplished pianist. He and his wife spent many vacations in Carmel enjoying the arts on the Monterey Peninsula. Color photography was one of his hobbies with his primary subjects being wild flowers and mountain scenes. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and especially enjoyed his Sunday School class with many of his friends. He was a follower of Jesus Christ and his faith was a big part of his life.

Funeral Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church, Victoria, Texas on Friday, February 15 at 10 am, with visitation at 9 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the First United Methodist Church in Victoria, or a charity of your choice.

  • FAMILY

  • Dr. Dennis Wilhoit, Father
  • Emma Wilhoit, Mother
  • Verla Walton Wilhoit, Wife
  • Michael Wilhoit, Son
  • Jeffrey (Debra) Spearman, Stepson
  • Anna Wilhoit, Sister
  • Lorraine Russell, Sister
  • Filmore Wilhoit, Brother
  • Buford Wilhoit, Brother
  • Ryan (Elizabeth) Spearman, Grandchild
  • Lauren (Matthew) Thurston, Grandchild
  • Ansley Spearman, Great Grandchild
  • Caleb Spearman, Great Grandchild
  • Samuel Thurston, Great Grandchild
  • Violet Thurston, Great Grandchild

Services

  • Visitation Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, February 15, 2019
REMEMBERING

Eugene Dennis Wilhoit

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Jewel Sims

February 18, 2019

To the family, my sincerest sympathy. Gene (andVerla) were colleagues at DuPont. I will always cherish the special memories we shared as colleagues and friends. May the joyful memories and love you shared with Gene bring you peace. Know that I care.

John England

February 15, 2019

My condolences to Verla, Michael, and the family. I was saddened to learn of Gene's passing. He was my first boss at the Victoria Plant when I began working there in 1968. His first bit of advice to me was offered when I was preparing to purchase a new car. He was a great boss and was always very professional. I enjoyed working "for", and later "with", him on many projects. After one of his trips to Carmel I asked him, in jest, if he saw Mayor Clint Eastwood during his visit. He replied: "You know I did. I saw him walking down the street last week."

John England, West Jordan, Utah

Dalton Doubrava

February 14, 2019

I was privileged to know Gene in his later years, he was a very kind and loving man. He took the time to take a interest in me personally, even though I worked for him and took care of there yard. He was like a father figure to me, when all the father figures in my life have all passed on.I visited with him Friday at the hospital,not knowing it was to be the last time. Be at peace with our Lord and savior . Love you always your friend Dalton

Rebecca Ann Russell Wafler

February 14, 2019

Gene is my uncle. I was five and was showing a friend an old well on my grandma's property where crawdads lived, when I misjudged my step and fell in the hole. I was able to hold on to the grass but unable to pull myself out. I know I screamed pretty loud and will forever remember seeing Uncle Gene sprinting around the house. He grabbed me by my hair to keep me from dropping and then pulled me up and hugged me before handing me off to my mom. Forever my hero.

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Biography

Eugene Dennis Wilhoit was called home to be with the Lord on February 10, 2019. He was born in Frankfort, Kentucky on January 28, 1931 to the late Dr. Dennis Wilhoit, M.D. and Emma Risk Wilhoit of Bagdad, Kentucky.
He is survived by his wife, Verla Walton Wilhoit of Victoria, Texas; his son, Michael Wilhoit of Austin, Texas; stepson, Jeffrey Spearman , and his wife, Debra, of Katy, Texas and their children, Ryan Spearman (Elizabeth) of Sugar Land, Texas, and Lauren Thurston (Matthew) of Spicewood, Texas, and four great-grandchildren, Ansley and Caleb Spearman, and Samuel and Violet Thurston.

Preceded in death by brothers, Filmore and Buford Wilhoit; sisters, Anna Wilhoit and Lorraine Russell.

Gene received a B.S. degree in Industrial Chemistry in 1953 and a Ph. D. degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Kentucky in 1956. His graduate research work was devoted to electrochemistry and he published numerous articles covering his work in major scientific journals.

He joined Dupont in August 1956 in Wilmington, Delaware and worked on physical chemistry of polymers prior to serving his military obligation in 1957 at Redstone Arsenal where he was assigned to the Army’s rocket fuel research program. Upon returning to DuPont he began researching a new process for nylon intermediates. In collaboration with John Sloan (DuPont Engineer) they demonstrated the first electrochemical synthesis of a major chemical used in nylon manufacture . DuPont did not commercialize the discovery but two years later Monsanto developed the technology and installed large scale plants using the concept which is operating today.

In 1958, Gene moved to Orange, Texas where he pursued research on a specialty chemical now being manufactured at Victoria. From 1967 to 1975 he held Research Management positions at the Victoria Plant and then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina as General Technical Manager for polyester chemicals. In late 1981 he returned to the Victoria plant as a Research Fellow. On January 5, 1982, Dr. Denton Cooley performed open heart surgery on him which was very successful . Gene continued his career with DuPont until his retirement in 1994. After retirement he continued to serve as a DuPont consultant for several years.

His research and technical management philosophy was to develop new technology which would have significant scientific merit plus credible economical benefits. He believed industrial research should have a business focus with well defined financial, safety and environmental/human benefits which can be measured in finite time. He enjoyed working with professional chemists and engineers to achieve these goals.

During his DuPont career numerous patents were issued to him and his colleagues and are being used in large industrial plants in U.S. and foreign countries. He was elected to the American Men of Science and recognized by The New York Academy of Sciences for his academic research and DuPont accomplishments.

Gene enjoyed and played basketball at University Kentucky for Adolph Ruppand. He enjoyed a fast game of tennis as well as golf, and fishing with his son, Michael gave him great pleasure. Art (painting) and classical music fascinated him. His wife, Verla, is a very good artist with special skills in palette knife work and a very accomplished pianist. He and his wife spent many vacations in Carmel enjoying the arts on the Monterey Peninsula. Color photography was one of his hobbies with his primary subjects being wild flowers and mountain scenes. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and especially enjoyed his Sunday School class with many of his friends. He was a follower of Jesus Christ and his faith was a big part of his life.

Funeral Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church, Victoria, Texas on Friday, February 15 at 10 AM, with visitation at 9 AM.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the First United Methodist Church in Victoria, or a charity of your choice.