Gordon C. WhitingFarmer, raconteurGordon C. Whiting, a...

April 26, 1994

Gordon C. Whiting

Farmer, raconteur

Gordon C. Whiting, a farmer and storyteller whose ancestors were early settlers of Maryland and Virginia, died April 13 of heart failure at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 84.

He was the son of G. W. C. Whiting, who founded the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., and was reared by his grandparents, Clarence Carlyle Whiting and Marian Gordon Whiting in Roland Park. His grandfather entertained him with stories of his Civil War exploits when he served with a Confederate cavalry unit until surrendering at Appomattox Court House, Va., in 1865.

He was also related to Col. George Armistead, who defended Fort McHenry during the British bombardment in 1814, and to John Hanson, first president of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.

He particularly enjoyed showing visitors a desk in his living room that once belonged to Lawrence Washington, who bequeathed the desk to his brother, George, after his death. In turn, George Washington gave the desk as a wedding gift to Mr. Whiting's ancestor, Elizabeth Marshall Colston, who was the sister of John Marshall, a chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Whiting attended the Calvert School, Marston School and Gilman. He briefly worked for his father and later worked for several Baltimore insurance companies.

During World War II, he enlisted as a private in the 5th Maryland Regiment and, after earning a commission, transferred to the Army Air Forces, building airfields and support facilities in the China-Burma-India Theater.

He was discharged with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1946 and returned to Maryland, where he purchased his Worthington Valley farm, Huntly, which was named after the home of his Scottish ancestors. He raised sheep and crops.

Mr. Whiting liked to entertain and regularly attended the Maryland Hunt Cup.

"He filled his house with friends and conversation," said Thomas Young, his son-in-law. "He often knew more about his friends' families than they themselves and could recount endless affectionate anecdotes about them from his store of information accumulated over a lifetime of listening and observation."

He was married in 1943 to the former Keith Key Keesee, an actress and model who died in 1990.

He is survived by a daughter, Keith Beverly Whiting Young of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Johns Church in Glyndon or the G. W. C. Whiting School of Engineering, the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

Services were held April 16.

Helen N. Farquhar

Volunteer worker

Helen Nesbitt Farquhar, who did volunteer work, died Friday of cancer at The Cedars, her home in Sandy Spring in Montgomery County. She was 96.

She did volunteer work as a member of the Women's Board of Montgomery General Hospital and the auxiliary of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department.

The former Helen Nesbitt was a native of nearby Ashton and attended the Sherwood School in the area before enrolling at the Friends School in Baltimore, from which she graduated in 1916.

She then attended Wellesley College but left before graduation to do volunteer work in Washington during World War I.

In 1919, she married Arthur Douglas Farquhar, and they moved into his family home, where she remained until her death. Mr. Farquhar died in 1977.

A daughter, Ann Forbush, whose husband, Byron Forbush, is headmaster of Friends School in Baltimore, and a son, Norman Farquhar of Washington, both died in 1992.

Services were to be held at 2 p.m. today at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting, of which she was a member.

She is survived by a daughter, Margaret Adelfio of Chevy Chase; a son, Gordon Farquhar of Weekapaug, R.I.; 14 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

J. Mallory Taylor III

Auto parts executive

J. Mallory Taylor III, retired president and chief executive officer of Ditch, Bowers & Taylor Inc., an automotive parts and supplies company that was established as a livery stable in 1836, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 75 and retired last year.

He joined the company in 1940 "after an uncle forbid him to go to work for a liquor distributorship," said his wife, the former Barbara Blunt of Dorsey Hall, Howard County, whom he married in 1941.

He was a descendant of J. S. Ditch, founder of Ditch's Palace Stables and Riding Academy, which later merged with William Bowers, a coach-maker.

The business was at Mount Royal and North avenues, "where many of the older generation learned to straddle a horse," said an article in The Sun in 1930. That year, a fire destroyed the building and the company rebuilt on the same site.

"The stables and livery business remained for some years after the advent of automobiles, but finally the business was closed out as motor-driven machines took the place of horse-drawn vehicles," said the article.

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