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Kenneth E. Whatley, 92, of Warren passed away on Tuesday, September 10, at his home. Ken was born in Plainfield, NJ and was predeceased by his parents, Loran and Viola (Koch) Whatley, and his beloved wife Catherine (Kay) who died in 2003 and to whom he was married for 55 years. September 11 would have been their 71st wedding anniversary.
Ken left Plainfield High School at the age of 17 to enlist in the United States Navy serving aboard the USS Macon during World War II. Upon returning home, he went to work for NJ Bell Telephone and retired from Lucent at age 55 having worked as a lineman and telephone and teletype repairman. He finally finished high school in the 1960s when he earned his GED.
Ken had many interests and hobbies throughout his 92 years. He and Kay traveled extensively throughout the United States, to Ireland, the Caribbean, and to numerous USS Macon reunions. Maintaining second homes in Lake Wallepaupack, PA, and Boynton Beach, FL, they enjoyed many years at these homes with family and friends. The entire family vacationed annually at the Jersey Shore, a tradition that started in the 1950s in Ocean Beach. He was a golfer, gardener, hunter, motorcycle enthusiast, woodworker, and square dancer as well as a talented driveway car mechanic. Throughout the years, Ken also loved caring for his hunting dogs, his cats, his fishpond, and two beautiful horses.
A faithful parishioner of Our Lady of the Mount parish after his conversion to Catholicism in 2004, Ken served as an usher. He was also a loyal member of American Legion Post 293 and he also served as a volunteer for the Warren Township Rescue Squad for many years.
He is survived by his four daughters, Sue Ellen Bibby of Dunellen, Maureen Stahl (James) of Seaville, Debra Whatley of Washington, and Tara Laing of Glen Gardner. He was “Pop” to his 11 grandchildren, Brennan Bibby Quagliana, Dennis Patrick Bibby III, and Sean Bibby; James Stahl, Jr., Caitlin Nickel, and Ceili Stahl; Catherine Sutter, Maren Hollenback, and Peder Sarsten; and Robert and Bridget Laing; and “Great Pop” to his 15 great-grandchildren Nathaniel, Jayden, Julian, Jordan, Gianna, Brielle, Arabella, Annabelle, Henry, Kieran, Vivian, Rylen, Evelyn, Peder, and Maeve. He is also survived by his sister, Jean Soper of Middlesex and a host of nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at the funeral home on Sunday, September 15 from 2:00-6:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, September 16 at 10:30 am at Our Lady of the Mount Church, 167 Mt. Bethel Road in Warren. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in Basking Ridge. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Our Lady of the Mount.