Cover photo for Theodore Francis Whiting's Obituary
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1931 Theodore 2022

Theodore Francis Whiting

April 1, 1931 — December 5, 2022

Dothan

Theodore Francis "Professor" Whiting leaves a legacy that is unforgettable and monumental. As a spiritual leader, community leader, educational leader, and beloved musician, he touched the lives of every person with whom he came into contact.

The youngest of three, Theodore was born to the late Albert Theodore Whiting and Kathryn McRae Whiting on April 1,1931, in Dothan, Alabama. Theodore was the offspring of a Trinidadian and a Dothan native who lived in Harlem during the Renaissance. His father passed away when he was a young child. Raised by his widowed mother and his beloved grandfather, Christopher Columbus McRae, he began working as a grocery deliverer at the tender age of 8. A child of the Great Depression and the Jim Crow era, hard times in a hard place, he bloomed where God planted him and was a blessing to his people, humbly striving for excellence in all his endeavors. Theodore's mother Kathryn, an educator, music teacher and church pianist, taught him to play piano. He passed along this passion for music to all of his children.

His older sisters, Colleen and Harriet, recognized his aptitude and decided not to pursue further education because they wanted their baby brother (affectionately known as Bubba) to have the opportunity to continue learning. He skipped a grade in school because of his high scholastic aptitude. He graduated from Carver High School in Dothan, Alabama. After high school, he pursued Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music, Secondary Education, and Education Administration from Florida A & M University and Alabama State University. His talent with the ivory keys afforded him the opportunity to play the "Chitlin Circuit" to earn the money necessary to help pay for his college education. After graduating from Alabama State University, he began his career as a life-long educator at Lee County High School in Auburn, Alabama. He left this job to serve in the United States Army for two years, stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Dothan to continue his career.

He became an educator in Dothan City Schools at Carver High School. He eventually became a principal at East Highland and Grandview Elementary Schools. Over his 44 years in education, he made an impact in the lives of many students, teachers, and parents in the community. He weathered the storms surrounding 'Brown v Board' as a beleaguered school principal and readily accepted the challenges as a leading educator. He was a beacon to his students and a lifelong learner, always instilling in his students to pursue excellence in whatever they did. His love and support of children was the cornerstone of his life as he shared his faith in God in his life's vocation. He knew the names of each and every student in his school, and he developed lasting relationships with all of the families of the students he served. The fruit of his life flourishes wherever his offspring and students rise toward their full potential.

Theodore's faith was most evident in his work at Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church where he served as the Minister of Music, a Sunday School teacher, and choir member. His love of music ran deep; his skill in playing instruments allowed him to lead a band, "The Debonaires" for many years. He also regularly played for events for the St. Mary District of Matrons and other church and community events for many years. He directed community choirs, including the Southeast Alabama Mass Choir, The Troubadours, and the Wiregrass Youth Choral Society with his own signature style.

Theodore was a devoted life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, where he was initiated into the Gamma Sigma Chapter at Alabama State University on February 12, 1951. He was a charter member of the Wiregrass Ques, Kappa Beta Beta Chapter, in Dothan, Alabama, since 1981. He was also a fervent supporter of Black owned and small businesses.

Theodore was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, his son, Albert Christopher Whiting, Sr., grandchildren Karli, Kyle, and Kaleb Whiting and Emmanuel Simmons. He leaves to cherish his wife, Joyce Whiting; children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, longtime friends Tom Rollins (Barbara) of Tallahassee, Florida; Charles Mallory of Southfield, Michigan; Robert McCloud, Jr (Iola), of Dothan, Alabama, and a host of family, melodious singers, dedicated musicians and friends.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, December 12, 2022 at 11:00 am at Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dothan, Alabama. Burial with military honors will follow in Sunset
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