Richard J. Whitely, 74, technician, gardener

December 07, 2003

Richard J. Whitely, a retired telephone technician, died Monday of complications from colon and liver cancer at his home in Joppa. He was 74.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Whitely was a graduate of Polytechnic Institute. As a young man, he raised homing pigeons and was a member of the Hamilton Homing Pigeon Club.

For more than 30 years, he was a telephone technician and cable splicer in the Baltimore area for C&P Telephone Co., now Verizon Inc. After retiring in the late 1980s, he was a consultant in communications for the federal government.

Mr. Whitely was known for his ability to build and repair things, from old electrical appliances to automobiles and carpentry projects. The family recently built a vacation home in Ocean View, Del.

"If there was an obscure tool for a unique job, my dad knew precisely the name of that tool and was proficient in its use," said a daughter, Adrienne "Andi" Brown of Kingsville.

Mr. Whitely was an avid horticulturist, propagating rose bushes, hydrangeas, azaleas and heirloom tomatoes. The bounty from his vegetable garden led him to become accomplished at stir-fry cooking, pickling and canning.

He also enjoyed fishing, hunting and boating, and visited local auction houses and flea markets. He was particularly interested in collecting hand-painted porcelain ware from prewar, occupied and contemporary Japan.

He was a communicant of St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Kingsville, where a Mass of the Resurrection was offered Friday. He worked with the church to distribute food to the needy, and the family suggested memorial donations to the church at 8030 Bradshaw Road, Kingsville 21087.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Lorraine Mary Braun; two other daughters, Susan Pazdersky of Joppa and Mary Carol DeVilbiss of Towson; two sons, Richard K. Whitely of Summerville, S.C., and Christopher C. Whitely of Spring Hill, Fla.; and nine grandchildren.

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