Father John Whitley

This dedication appeared in the 1966 Arete Yearbook

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description goes here It has taken some four decades of hard work to build the great tradition that is Aquinas. This has been accomplished only through the efforts of those men who have given entirely of themselves — men such as Father John R. Whitley.

His dedication and love for Aquinas and everyone connected with the school is manifested in his every action. As the Director of the Library he aids in keeping the academic facilities of the school at a more than adequate level of efficiency. As teacher and priest he attempts to forge young boys into young men of whom Aquinas can be proud. As Director of our Color Guard, he has helped successfully to mold it into a unit on a par with any other color guard in the state. And as Director of Publicity he never misses an opportunity to broadcast to the world his sincere feeling that Aquinas is the greatest.

But it is as a person that Father Whitley makes his outstanding contribution to the school. His devotion to the school coupled with his exuberant energy constitutes a highly contagious spirit which, through his pep talks, never fails to enliven the students' school spirit, whether Aquinas is the victor or the victim. And his seemingly endless good humor and clowning keeps everyone in good spirits.

To Father Whitley, therefore, in humble appreciation for all he has done, we, the students of Aquinas Institute, dedicate this Arete of 1966.

RIP Father Whitley

Father Jack died peacefully on Sunday, June 24, 2012 after a brief illness. Just a few weeks prior we had learned that Father Jack was scheduled to be in Rochester to celebrate a mass for a neice. We also learned that he would be celebrating a birthday while in Rochester. John Palermo and Dave Behr put the wheels in motion to organize a surprise party for Father Jack. We had several former Color Guard members coming in from out of town. It was to be a special evening to honor Father Jack, but the good Lord had other plans. Just before he was scheduled to travel to Rochester Father Jack was admitted to a hospital in Houston. His Doctors would not let him travel. We were all disappointed, but we held the party in his honor anyway. Sister Nancy his sister atteneded as well as several other family members in his place and they heard all the heart warming stories that were told that night. We had hoped to talk to him via Skype, but it would have been to stressful for him so he declined. Never the less we had a good time and his family was very grateful for the honor we bestowed on Father Jack. Below is the obituray that was posted in the Houston paper.

Rev. John Raymond Whitley, C.S.B. 28 June 1927 ~ 24 June 2012
Posted Jun 25, 2012 by Mark

Father Jack succumbed to pulmonary complications at about 6:30 am at Seven Acres Hospice in
Houston, Texas. Arrangements for Fr. Jack’s services…Tuesday, 26 June: Rosary and wake at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church from 5:00-8:00 PM. Wednesday, 27 June:Funeral Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church at 10:00 AM. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is located at 6646 Addicks-Satsuma Road, Houston, Texas 77084. Church phone: 281-463-7878.

Father Jack Whitley “...the most loved Knight in the State of Texas” Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Clergy Night 27 January 2012 John Raymond Whitley was born to W. Raymond Whitley and Margaret Loughney in Rochester, New York on the 28th of June, 1927.

In 1944, John (Jack) Whitley was graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York and entered the Rochester Novitiate where he made his first vows on August 15, 1945. A year at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada, was followed by three years at Assumption College in Windsor, Canada, where he earned a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1949. He attended the University of
Toronto Library School in 1949 and 1950 and earned a Bachelor of Library Science Degree in 1950.
The following year he taught Latin and Science at St. Thomas High School in Houston where he
began his studies of Theology. He completed his studies of Theology at St. Basil’s Seminary while
also teaching at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, Canada.

Father Jack was ordained June 29, 1954 at St. Basil’s Church in Toronto, Canada by Cardinal McGuigan and celebrated his first solemn Mass in Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester, New York. In 1955, Father Jack was sent to Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York to serve the multiple roles
of librarian, teacher of English and Theology, coordinator of assemblies, director of graduation, and moderator of the school band and Color Guard Instructor.

Under his leadership, the Aquinas Color Guard won five New York State championships and three national rankings. During his seventeen years at Aquinas, he earned a Master of Education degree from the University Of Rochester; a diploma from the National Drum Corps Association; did further studies in Library Science and English at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; and also served as
President of the High School Library Section, and served on the Executive Board of the Catholic
Library Association, edited its yearly review of books; and later was elected to the board of the
National Catholic Education Association. On weekends, he would make mission appeals throughout
the nation on behalf of the Basilian Fathers Missions. In 1973, he was sent to Catholic Central High
School in Detroit as an English and Science teacher and was then appointed Assistant Principal.

In the fall of 1978 he entered the Doctoral program in Educational Administration at Wayne State
University. Subsequently, Father Jack was asked to be the Principal of Andrean High School in
Merrillville, Indiana, a position which he held until 1988 when he went to Rome to study
Spirituality at the Angelicum.

In the fall of 1989 he was sent to St. Joseph Center in Sugar Land, Texas, where he served as
Director of the Mission Center, and was responsible for funding the evangelical and educational
activities of the Basilian Fathers Missions in Mexico and South America, as well as serving as
Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Council of St. Thomas Aquinas Church and the Columbian
Squires, was a member of the Fourth Degree Assembly at St. Theresa Church in Sugar Land, Texas,
served as Chaplain of the Houston Chapter, and served as Associate State Chaplain for the Knights
of Columbus in the State of Texas for four years, 2009-2012. He also served on the Diocesan
Mission Council, the Texas Mission Council, and completed more than forty-five years of preaching
for the missions in Mexico and South America.

Father Jack was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Assumption, and continued his work of evangelization and making missionary appeals to generate funds to support the apostolic activities of the Basilian missionary priests until 2011.

Father Whitley was inducted into the Aquinas HOF in May 2010. Read the article in the attached link.

Guestbook Entries for Father Whitley's obituary

July 10, 2012
Fr John...Thank you for the education,life experiences and fun you so richly gave to us as students at
Aquinas and as members of the Color Guard...God bless you and thanks!!!
~ Jim Curtis, Lubbock, Texas

June 27, 2012
RIP Whit Johnson (aka Rev. John R. Whitley), the man responsible for the best times in high school traveling and competing in the championship AQ Color Guard. A truly dedicated and generous person who put up with a lot from us wild kids.
~ John Castelein, Rochester, New York

June 26, 2012
Father Whitley taught me dedication and to strive for perfection. He taught me how to win ...and to work harder if we lost. He was an example of passion and patiance, as our leader. He was a traditional priest who did a great job dealing with crazy teens in changing times. I wouldn't be the same man I am today without him. Thank You Father.
~ Steve Dragone, AQ Color Guard Class of 1972, Los Angeles, California

June 26, 2012
I'm very saddened to hear of Uncle Jack's passing. My thoughts, love, and sympathy are with the
Whitley and Conners family.
~ Kristi Martin, Concord, Massachusetts

June 26, 2012
I thank the Lord for your dedicated priestly service that has brought so many closer to God all of these
years. As a chaplain with the Knights of Columbus may you be welcomed into Heaven by our Blessed Mother and Fr. McGivney. May you and all faithful departed rest in peace,
~ Tom Furmanczyk, Cypress, Texas

June 26, 2012
Father Whitley, your homilies were always spontaneous, not read. You spoke from the heart and I truly
felt you cared for us and more importantly, I could tell youloved the Lord. You inspired us all to be better persons. I am saddened by your departure. Please pray for us that we may finish the journey meet with you in heaven. Godspeed!
~ Ive Nadal-Ammoune, Houston, Texas

June 26, 2012
Thank you for being our spiritual advisor for the startup of Saint Basil Coffee. You received our first
distribution check to our Basilian Missions in Colombia. It was a great moment as we gathered with you
and Fr. John Robbins. Thank you for your encouragement and support.
~ Jim Boyles, Houston, Texas

June 26, 2012
Fr. Jack inspired all of us at Aquinas as Basilian scholastics with his sense of dedication as a priest and his loyality to the Lord. I want to extend my condolences to friends and family members.
~ Rev. George Hosko csb, Houston, Texas

June 26, 2012
Father Whitley was a natural parent ... he took on the role of guiding parent for so many of us as we traveled with him constantly in high school years. He saw us at our best and worst momments as teen boys and always was there to encourage us, compliment us or give us that "look" ... always with the attitude of unconditional love (even when I didn't know that terminology ... I knew what it felt like to be
unconditionally loved!!!) Thank you Father ... I cry, not for you but, because I was so fortunate to have been under your care for 4 exciting years and do not have the words to tell you how deeply grateful I am to you. THANK YOU!
~ Al Keys, Santa Barbara, California

June 26, 2012
Fr. Jack, thank you for letting us hijack you after 9:00 am Mass to hear our confessions and for being
the healing voice of Christ. As the Irish say, May you be in Heaven an hour before the devil knows
you're dead. Thank you God for blessing us with such a beautiful priest.
~ Patti, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
Fr. Jack was the epitome of a true Christian...I will so miss Him.
~ Robert Kossman, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
Those of us, who had the good fortune to be in the Aquinas Band and Clor Guard in the 1960's came to
know Father Whitley in a special way. We all have fond memories of Father Whitley. A dedicated priest
has been called to his eternal reward.
~ Frank Verstraete, Rochester, New York

June 25, 2012
Glad we could bring some joy to him with the birthday celebration CD of his accomplishments with the
Aquinas Color Guard and Band. He will be sorely missed. May God smile on him.
~ Tom Brady Sr, Niagara Falls, New York

June 25, 2012
Thank you Lord, for Fr. Jack. As the spiritual director for the Legion of Mary; University of St. Thomas,
Fr. Jack was a blessing. What a holy man! He loved our our Lady.
May the souls of our departed Legionaries and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of
God rest in peace. Amen.
~ William O, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
Fr Jack inspired all of us at Aquinas with his sense of fairness, dedication, perfection and determination.
We all left better men and carried those virtues throughhout our lives because of Father Whitley.
Forward March, Jack!
~ Bob Colby, Atlanta, Georgia

June 25, 2012
Fr. Whitley, you are finally able to hear our Lord's words, the same which you also
frequently recalled on your homilies; "Well done my good and faithful servant, enter
into the kingdom that I have prepared for you" We will miss you so much.
~ Shadi & family, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
An inspiration to everyone he met. As a Knight, he served as Associate State Chaplain with 2 State
Deputies, Chapter Chaplain since 2000, 4th Degree District 1 Chaplain, 4th Degree Assembly Associate
Chaplain, Council Chaplain of 2 councils. He loved his Knights and we loved him!!
~ Tony Herreth, Missouri City, Texas

June 25, 2012
St. Thomas Aquinas Knights of Columbus Council 7382 was privileged and honored to have Father
Jack as our chaplain. We are grateful to God for sharing Fr. Jack with us and we pray that God grant
this holy man His eternal and loving peace.
~ Larry

June 25, 2012
As a member of the Aquinas graduating class of 1969 and a member of the Aquinas Color Guard under
the direction of Fr. Whitley I am deeply saddened by his passing. Father had an unbelievable influence
on all the Color Guard and Band members at Aquinas. I personally have so many fond memories of my
Color Guard days and everything that Fr Whitley did for us. Farther touched many lives while at Aquinas
and I'm sure many more since he has moved on from Aquinas. He was a great man and will be missed.
~ Dan Kinney, Durham, North Carolina

June 25, 2012
Sir Knight Father Jack was an outstanding servant of God. I know he will be dearly missed, especially
by the Knights of Columbus which he tirelessly promoted. Holy and most gracious Lord Jesus Christ,
surround Father Jack with your loving arms and give peace and comfort to him forever and ever. Amen.
~ Sir Knight Richard Thompson, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
Fr. Whitley, you will truly be missed by all those whose lives you touched. Whether working as the
Chaplain for the UST Knights of Columbus Council my freshman year or guiding my spiritual
development through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I know that you served and still serve as a model
of holiness for me and for many other young people. Thank you for all that you and the entire Basilian
congregation do for the world. My heart and prayers go out to your family, friends, parishoners, and
brother priests. In paradisum deducant te Angeli.
~ David Markus, Houston, Texas

June 25, 2012
Fr. Jack will be missed. He was a blessing to all.
~ Marie

June 25, 2012
Father Jack was a Blessing to all!! Thank you for all you did for my family and our Parish. Rest in Peace
sweet man.
~ Alan Phillips, Alvin, Texas

June 25, 2012
A Saint has graced our lives and surely will be missed here on earth. Now Heaven,who needs him more,
rejoices as he enters into our promise land-home with Jesus. What a blessing you are to all who were
touched by your life on Earth. Now your work continues in Heaven. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Julie Ray & family
~ julie ray, houston, Texas