Bertram M. Whitley

Published 5:56 pm Friday, May 25, 2018

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bertram McVae “Birdie” Whitley passed away on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, surrounded by his family in Savannah, Georgia.

A loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather, his personal integrity was well known, and his loyalty and patriotism were never doubted.

In his spare time, he was a veracious reader, an amateur clock maker, a collector of antiques and a devoted fan of The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide.

He stated on many occasions that those he admired the most included his father, General Robert E. Lee, General Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill and Paul William “Bear” Bryant.

Born on April 26, 1928, in Norfolk, Virginia, he grew up in the town of Franklin within Southampton County in Virginia. An accomplished high school athlete, he attended Franklin High School, graduating in 1946.

He joined the Army in 1951, and served in the Korean War as a member of the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Division. Upon discharge, he attended Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternal organization.

After college, he was employed by Camp Manufacturing Company as a cost accountant, and after the subsequent merger with Union Bag & Paper Company and the acquisition of W.T. Smith Lumber Company, he transferred to Chapman, Alabama, to serve in the role as assistant to the resident manager. In 1974, he assumed the role of controller of the Building Products Division moving to Savannah in 1975, where he remained until retiring in 1993.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Garnett Emerson and Naomi H. Whitley; his two brothers, Franklin Ellsworth Whitley (Lessie) and Garnett Emerson Whitley Jr. (Florence;) and most importantly the love of this life, Joy Howard Whitley.

He is survived by his two sons, Bertram McVae Whitley Jr. and Benjamin Gordon Whitley (Janet;) three grandchildren, Ammie Rogers Akin (Will,) Bertram McVae Whitley III and Virginia Howard Whitley; and three great-grandchildren, Jack, George and Henry Akin.

He will be entombed with his wife and there will be a memorial service at a later date.

In lieu of flowers and if so desired, he requested in advance that remembrances be bequeathed in his honor in support of Stratford Hall, The Birthplace of Robert E. Lee Memorial or The University of Alabama.

Lastly, the family would like to offer its sincere thanks and gratitude to the staffs of Marsh View Senior Living, Savannah Square, Hospice of Savannah, the critical care doctors and nurses at Memorial Health University Medical Center and his long-term physician, Dr. Robert Brown, all of whom gave such amazing care.