William & Dorothy Whitehurst

July 27, 1926January 25, 2020

Dorothy Lee (“Dottie”) Whitehurst (née Hagaman) and William Edward (“Bill”) Whitehurst of South Charleston, WV, passed away together on January 26, 2020 after 66 wonderful years of marriage. Dottie was 90 and Bill was 93. They left this world as they lived their lives, side by side as a team.

Dottie was born to parents Albert and Frances Hagaman on October 12, 1929 in St. Albans, WV. She grew up in Gauley Bridge, WV with her three brothers Harold, Bob and Jim. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Marshall College (now Marshall University). She was the only female chemist in her graduating class, and one of only a handful of master’s level female chemists in the entire country. After graduation, Dottie worked as a chemist for Union Carbide Corporation, where she met Bill.

Bill was born to parents Amos and Anna Whitehurst on July 27, 1926 in Paterson, NJ. He grew up in the Tidewater Virginia area, with siblings Elizabeth and Herbie. When he was 17 years old, Bill enlisted in the Army Air Corp, where he served overseas in WWII. After the war, Bill used the GI Bill to earn his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and started his first job at Union Carbide. In that first job, Bill worked for Dottie, which was nearly unheard of in that era. But love conquered the org chart.

They married in 1953, and the couple raised three children in South Charleston, WV, in a house that they continued to live in for their entire lives.

Dottie returned to school in the early 1970’s to earn another Master’s Degree in Counseling. She became certified as a Licensed Clinical Counselor (LCC) and served as Director of the WV Mental Health Association for many years. After retiring from the Mental Health Association, she continued to work as a family mediator. Recently, she became certified to assess returning military personnel for PTSD. She co-authored one book on psychology, and was always making notes for future books about the people she had met and her family’s genealogy. Dottie was the ultimate “people person.” She was open to every conversation and loved hearing the stories of everyone she met.

Bill worked for Union Carbide for over 30 years, and after retiring spent many hours in his workshop making beautiful and intricate wooden toys and furniture for his kids and grandkids. He was an avid reader who loved to study history, astronomy and physics. He was exceptionally curious, and continued to take on-line courses in high level math and physics well into his 90’s. He loved to play the piano and to debate politics.

Together in retirement, Bill and Dottie travelled the world with the Elderhostel organization (now Road Scholar) to exciting places like South America, Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. They shunned the big metropolitan cities of the world in favor of towns and villages where they could truly see and understand the native cultures. In recent years, they enjoyed winters in Florida and summers at their home in South Charleston, and took every opportunity to spend time with their ever growing family. Even in their later years, Dottie and Bill impressed all who knew them with their broad interests, intellectual curiosity, energy and vibrancy.

They are survived by their three children, Jay Whitehurst (Denise), Lee Whitehurst (Debbie) and Jessie Lief (Fred), Dottie’s brother Jim Hagaman (Jeanie), their six grandchildren, Emilee Zoskey (Michael), Carrie Whitehurst (Ken McBrady), Gregory Whitehurst, Bryan Whitehurst (Rocio), Andre Lief and Eva Lief, and their two great grandchildren, Alyssa Hernandez and Aubrey Zoskey, as well as many, many nieces and nephews.

Family celebrations of Dottie and Bill’s rich and inspiring lives are planned for New Smyrna Beach, FL and South Charleston, WV in the spring and summer. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting a donation to the Mental Health Association.

Condolences may be offered at


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William & Dorothy Whitehurst

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gary Burdette

February 3, 2020

I have many fond memories of “get togethers” with the Whitehursts at the home of Mary & Barney Bright. Bill & Dottie were a joy to be around....lovely people! My condolences to the entire family.

Beverly Harrah

February 3, 2020

I grew up in South Charleston. Lee and are were classmates. My mom, Margaret Ratliff, was a Carbider as well, for 26 years. Most of the time she worked as an executive secretary for a group of R&D Doctors, then later in Chicago as Sales Coordinator for Chemicals. One of the group members was Bill Whitehurst. She thought very highly of him due to his work ethic and professionalism. We felt fortunate for those years at UCC that provided my mom a career in positive work environment.
I pray for the family in this painful time. I hope there is comfort in knowing what genuine and impactful both persons were together and in their own personalities.

With deepest sympathy,
Beverly Ratliff Harrah

Stephanie Gregory

February 2, 2020

Bill and Dotty were staples in my younger years. My grandparents lived two doors down from them in South Charleston, WV. We would get together for parties a lot. I also went to Bill's workshop out back of their house with my brother, Billy and cousins. We loved seeing what Bill was making. Dotty was always so sweet and smiling. It was great talking with her when we would get together. My grandparents have passed more than 10 years ago and I lost track of Bill and Dottie sadly. My dad, Bill Bright, passed away last week. He would have reached out to you, I know. He loved your parents too. I wish you peace and will be looking out for the service information.