Surrounded by his family and in his favorite place, Timothy Lee Whitman died early October 22, 2022 after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer. He was 63.
Born September 11, 1959, Tim grew up in a community and time that might be as close to the ideal American upbringing that any novelist might imagine. The second of three born to Wesley, an electrician, and Alyce, Tim grew up in Souderton, Pennsylvania. He spent his time in the company of close neighborhood friends, engaging in the typical activities expected in children of the time: baseball, football, skiing, comic books, and mayhem.
Tim experimented with following his father into electrical contracting but finding little interest, began working at a local pants factory, Hatfield Trousers. Shortly after his high school graduation, he met Barbara Fecik who he married in 1981.
Following his new in-laws to warmer climes, Tim and Barbara moved to Coral Springs, Florida in the early 1980s where Tim started a lawn care company. Few surprises follow in this American tale—they bought a house and in 1984, gave birth to their first child, Wendy, followed by Jennifer 14 months later, and Timothy Patrick (known as Timmy) in 1989.
Tim worked hard to provide many of those same essential childhood experiences that he treasured for his own children. The activity that most dominated this time was Little League baseball which both Wendy and Jennifer played with Tim managing various teams. School activities, work, and summers outside in the pool filled the family’s time.
In 1997, the Whitmans moved to Orlando where Tim began a 25-year career at Walt Disney World. Though he started off working the third shift custodial position, he quickly advanced into management. He took a second full time job with ABX Air (later DHL). Tim’s work ethic during these years demonstrated two things to his children and those who knew him: his dedication to provide a better life for his family and the importance and value of hard work.
Despite the discovery and subsequent removal of a mass on his kidney in 2005, Tim continued working both of his jobs finding it rewarding and productive. After working for several years at Epcot, in 2002, he transferred to Disney’s Wide World of Sports, a position that he greatly enjoyed. Tim also made time for hunting, going often with Timmy in search of deer, turkey, and even alligator. Time moved on as Wendy and Jennifer graduated college and married Josh and Sean respectively, and Timmy enlisted in the US Army, deploying to Afghanistan in 2010 with the 82nd Airborne.
In 2014, Tim suffered a recurrence of kidney cancer but found relative success in a clinical trial that allowed him to continue to live and work with minimal side effects. This success was critical over the next several years as more family changes occurred including the arrival of Jennifer’s first child and the first grandchild, Addison in 2013, followed by twins, Austin and Oliver in 2019. Anybody who talked to Tim in this period quickly learned how much he loved the three of them, building a treehouse and swing set in the backyard for them to enjoy.
Unfortunately, in an all-too-common refrain, the cancer advanced and treatment options became fewer and fewer. And yet, Tim’s will to live never diminished. As he had his whole life, Tim’s constant concern and love for his family meant that he never really gave up fighting even after reaching the end of his medical options. In his final months, Tim and Barbara watched baseball games, watched his grandchildren, and spent time with his family and close friends.
In addition to Barbara, his wife of 41 years, his children and his grandchildren, Tim is survived by his mother and sisters, Lisa and Terri.
A memorial service will be held Monday, November 7 at the Marriott Courtyard Orlando South (4120 West Taft Vineland Rd., Orlando, FL 32837) at 6pm.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 8 at 10am at Holy Cross Catholic Church (1260 Marsfield Ave., Orlando, FL 32837) with burial following at Queen of Angels cemetery (1901 Queen of Angels Dr., Winter Park, FL 32792).