Hal Ray Whitaker, 85, a resident of Grand Coulee, Washington, died Sunday, May 20, 2012, in Spokane, after a short illness. Hal was born January 20, 1927, in Palestine, Texas, to Hal J. Whitaker and Paula Heart-Whitaker with the help of a midwife at the sawmill where his father worked.
Known to residents of the Grand Coulee area as their long-time Farmers Insurance Agent, Hal had also served as an instructor of vocational agriculture. A genius with numbers, Hal was unbeatable at dominos, being able after just a few dominos were turned face up to know what his unlucky opponents were hiding. An avid fisherman, Hal had a lifelong love of travel of all kinds, whether enjoying live stage productions in Branson, Mo., or cruises with family to Alaska and the Caribbean. His family remembers with particular fondness going camping together at Bull Prairie in Hal’s homemade camper lovingly nicknamed the “Turnerville Trolley.”
Predeceased by: both of his parents; sister June Oliver; daughter Sharon Mowery; step-daughter Judy Gochnauer; grandson Kenneth Gochnauer and wife Karen Whitaker.
Hal is survived by his special friend Sue Engstrom; son Hal Ray Whitaker Jr.; daughter Vicki Moulin; step-daughter Mickey Gribble; grandchildren: Jeff Gribble, Julie Anderson, Lynne Guhlke, Cindy Sewall, Melody Nuxoll, Heather Addair, Jessica Mayo, Shaun Whitaker, Artie Mowery, Armand Mowery, Vicki LaParrie and Melonie Pluth; numerous great- and great-great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place and Hal will be inurned in Spring Canyon Cemetery next to his wife Karen. Friends and neighbors are invited to a celebration of Hal’s life at 11 a.m., on Saturday, May 26, at the United Methodist Church, 405 Center Street, Grand Coulee.
His family requests that donations be made in Hal’s memory to the Grand Coulee Dam Senior Citizen’s Center, Grand Coulee, Wash.
Thornhill Valley Funeral Home of Spokane, Washington is serving the family.