Joe Lee Whitley of Victoria, a kind and loving man, went to be with our Lord and Savior on January 9, 2024, at the age of 73 after a courageous fight. He was born November 6,1950 in Waco, Texas to the late Guy Whitley and Mary Ethel Goates Whitley.
Joe will be deeply missed by his loving wife, Cathy Aber Whitley, his daughter Heather Whitley Camp and husband Lance Camp, and precious granddaughters Ava Whitley Camp and Lexi Lynne Camp all of Colorado. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, June Stone of Victoria; sister-in-law, Audra and “Cunyaw” Mike Garvel of Victoria; and sister, Jeanie Daffern and husband Jim of Sherman, Texas; as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Betty Oglesby, and nephews, Wesley Baugh and Travis Peterson.
Joe attended Blessing Elementary and Tidehaven schools and graduated from Mission High School in 1969. He attended Pan American College where he pledged Kappa Sigma, and also attended Victoria College before beginning his career in the oilfield. Most of Joe’s life was spent working in the oilfield where he made many lifelong friends beginning with Halliburton and then Otis Engineering which took him to the Rocky Mountains and mostly Utah and Wyoming.
In the mid-seventies, Joe returned to Victoria and continued working for Otis Engineering. It was at Robert King Apartments that he met the love of his life, Cathy Aber. She won his heart with her cooking because he always loved a home cooked meal, especially Cathy’s chicken fried steak and cream gravy. They were able to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary on December 16, something Joe was enormously proud to share. During their marriage, Joe was quite an athlete. He bowled in a league even traveling to a tournament out of state. Countless weeknights and weekends were spent playing softball where he played third base. Numerous lasting friendships were made on those softball fields. Joe’s softball swing eventually turned into a golf swing. Because of that swing, he became “Hoppin’ Joe.” Every weekend you would find Joe at Riverside Golf Course perfecting that Hoppin’ Joe swing.
Joe’s pride and joy came along in 1984 when Heather Lynne was born. As most girls do, she had her daddy wrapped around her little finger. They loved spending time together feeding the ducks at Riverside Park, grocery shopping, hanging out, and playing tennis. He never missed a pageant, sporting event, or tennis match. "Joe Daddy", as he frequently signed, was all about whatever Heather wanted to do. When she started Pee Wee tennis, Joe began to play lots of tennis. He played weekly with the men’s group at Victoria Country Club and played in many tournaments, both singles and doubles. Again, Joe made lasting friendships.
Joe not only loved his family and sports, but he loved animals, too. He always seemed to have a dog, even a little chihuahua as a young boy. Joe genuinely believed that little dog healed his asthma. He and Cathy got a rescue dog named Whiskey after they were married, and then later June’s dog Winston became his rig dog. As Heather readied for college, Joe got Cathy a miniature Schnauzer named Max to fill the empty nest syndrome. That did not last long as Max quickly became attached to Joe. Cathy later got another miniature Schnauzer named Fritz which also became attached to Joe. This was not a surprise that even the animals loved Joe and his kind heart. His fur babies were all incredibly special to him.
Joe was very proud to be a member of the “Mighty Men” Sunday School class at Northside Baptist Church. Joe loved his church and all the members in his “Mighty Men” class.
After 40 plus years in the oilfield and his final 38 years with Stone Well Service, Inc. he retired! Joe was often heard saying, “I don’t like retirement, I LOVE IT!” He played golf every chance he got and VCC became his second home. Known by the senior golfing group as JW, he managed to get his group hooked on graham crackers which were much better for him than the occasional Snickers or Twix he would share. Joe’s competitive nature also enjoyed a game of gin or pitch, but he also liked visiting out on the VCC porch. From those friends evolved the Saturday morning breakfast group that would meet at Ramsey’s where JW learned to order his biscuits toasted just like Cathy cooked but also one biscuit with cream gravy. It was also during his retirement that Joe reconnected with his Tidehaven classmates. Meeting for lunch was fun, but watching the Tidehaven Tigers in the football playoffs this past year was the best. Joe said those were the most exciting football games he had ever seen.
Retirement allowed Joe to spend considerably more time with his most precious loves, his granddaughters Ava and Lexi. They easily won his heart and had his full attention. Grandpa Joe loved to have the pool ready when they came, including the big yellow duck and recently a pool heater so they could swim in November. Playing cards or princess dominoes in the morning was quite common, and it seems he passed on his competitive nature to his girls. Going for donuts, having tea parties, cleaning the pool, and playing outside were a few favorites that were always on the agenda. Grandpa Joe loved his girls and was always proud to show them off and talk about them.
Joe was an amazing man, a good man, a family man, and most importantly, a godly man. He truly lived life for his family. He touched the lives of many people, and he was loved by even more. He leaves an enormous void, and he will be missed tremendously. Our peace comes because we know we will see each other again. We love you Joe Daddy, ten million verys!
Funeral service will be Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church, 4100 North Laurent, Victoria, Texas 77901. A Celebration of Life with food, drink, and memories will continue at 3:00 p.m. at Victoria Country Club, 14 Spring Creek Rd., Victoria, Texas 77904. Private family graveside will occur before the funeral service. Services are under the direction of Rosewood Funeral Chapel, 3304 E. Mockingbird Lane, Victoria, Texas 77904.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry, 401 E. Juan Linn St., Victoria, Texas 77901; Adopt A Pet, 8215 Houston Hwy, Victoria, Texas 77904; or donor’s choice.
The family requests that you share your thoughts and memories at www.rosewoodfuneralchapel.com.
Cathy Aber WhitleyWife
Heather Whitley Camp (Lance)Daughter and Son-In-Law
Ava Whitley CampGranddaughter
Lexi Lynne CampGranddaughter
Audra and “Cunyaw” Mike GarvelSister-In-Law and Brother-In-Law
Jeanie Daffern (Jim)Sister and Brother-In-Law
Guy WhitleyFather (deceased)
Mary Ethel Goates WhitleyMother (deceased)
Betty OglesbySister (deceased)
Wesley BaughNephew (deceased)
Travis PetersonNephew (deceased)
Billy JanssenHonorary Pallbearer
Fred LynchHonorary Pallbearer
Ben NixHonorary Pallbearer
Mike GarvelHonorary Pallbearer
Breene CantwellHonorary Pallbearer
Robert CornettHonorary Pallbearer
Gus TrojcakHonorary Pallbearer
Tom AshyHonorary Pallbearer
Spanky SchurtzHonorary Pallbearer
Bradley ArnoldHonorary Pallbearer
Jimmy PierceHonorary Pallbearer
Mighty Men Sunday School Class at Northside Baptist ChurchHonorary Pallbearers
Victoria Country Club GolfersHonorary Pallbearers
Riverside GolfersHonorary Pallbearers
Colony Creek GolfersHonorary Pallbearers