Edwin V. Whaley, 96, had been living independently in Wenatchee, and still driving his car, several months before he passed away at his recent home at Jamie’s Place in Winthrop on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.
He was born on March 18, 1921, in Pomona, California, to Guy V. Whaley and Elizabeth Edna (Baker) Whaley.
Ed was the great-grandson of Dr. Dorsey Syng Baker, who had traveled on horseback from Illinois to Portland, Oregon, as a wagon train doctor in 1848. Dr. Baker was an early settler in eastern Washington where he raised wheat and other crops, built a railroad from Walla Walla to the Columbia River, and established the first bank in the state of Washington, the Baker-Boyer Bank in Walla Walla. Because education was of significant importance to Dr. Baker, he donated property on which Whitman College was built.
Ed, like his great-grandfathers and father before him, had always been a hard-working, dedicated protector of his family. He was raised on a 10-acre orange grove in Pomona, California, where he learned to drive a tractor at 5 years old, and from the age of 14, he single-handedly managed the operation of the orange grove, caring for his mother and two younger sisters after his father’s early death.
As a young husband and father, Ed served as a major in the U.S. Air Force, and was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War, where he was head maintenance officer in charge of repairing the airplanes that were involved in the Korean conflict.
Upon his return to civilian life, Ed graduated from the University of Southern California (USC), where he earned a teacher’s credential, and later an aeronautical engineering degree. He was employed by Lockheed, Burbank in southern California where he directed the writing of the parts, maintenance and training manuals for the companies’ commercial airplanes.
In addition to his formal agricultural education and experiences on the family acreages, his childhood interests in the mechanics of automobile and airplane engines remained a lifelong pursuit. Before retiring and moving to eastern Washington in the early 1970s, he earned a private pilot’s license and joined an airplane club in Burbank where he rented airplanes and enjoyed soaring the skies. After moving to Wenatchee, he joined the Wenatchee Red Apple Flyer’s Club where he made friends who shared his passion for flying machines.
Ed is survived by his only child, Kathleen Hirschstein, her husband, Zeke, and their daughter, Eve (Hirschstein) Russell, Eve’s husband, Dan, and son, Fisher John Russell; nephew David Nightingale (Celia) and their sons, Reed and Joel; niece Carolyn Schleif (Ron) and their daughter, Christine; nephew Morgan C. Morgan (Judy) and their children Tim, Jeff, and Jennifer; nieces Valerie (Lady) Gibb and Carol Lynn (Lady) Koch, and her daughter, Heather Timory; and stepsons, Steve Speer, Marc Speer, and Glen Speer. In addition, he is survived by many cousins in the Walla Walla and San Francisco Bay area, as well as distant relatives throughout the country, tracing 11 generations of Bakers back to 1609 when Alexander Baker sailed from England to debark in Boston, Massachusetts, as one of many immigrants who sailed to the “New World.”
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, two half-brothers (Warren Paul Whaley and Reed Whaley) and two sisters (Elizabeth Whaley Catté and Martha Whaley Nightingale), his first wife, Doris Lady Whaley and her siblings (Leona Lady Morgan, Gifford Nevin Lady and Paul Lady), one niece, Meredith Catté, and his second wife, Eleanor Speer Whaley.
Ed’s family is so very grateful for the patience, caring, kindness and medical expertise of his many care-givers during these past two years when he was in the Central Washington Hospital & Clinics, Colonial Vista Rehab in Wenatchee, and at Jamie’s Place in Winthrop.