Esther Adams Whitaker, age 92, of Springmoor Retirement Community, Raleigh, NC, died Oct. 4, 2013 at Rex Memorial Hospital. A celebration of life service was held 2 p. m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at Wake Forest Baptist Church, Wake Forest.
Esther Whitaker was preceded in death by her late husband, Dr. Bruce Ezell Whitaker, former President of Chowan College. They were married Aug. 22, 1947.
Mrs. Whitaker was born in Kings Mountain, July 30, 1921. She was the younger of the two daughters of the late Doc Fred and Ada Capps Adams. Her father moved the family to Catawba County when the girls were quite young. There Esther attended the public schools graduating from Newton (NC) High School with the Class of 1938.
Upon graduation from high school Mrs. Whitaker enrolled at Appalachian State Teacher’s College in Boone, receiving a B.S. degree in Elementary Education in 1942.
Subsequent to her employment at Chowan, Mrs. Whitaker pursued additional graduate studies at Union (NY) Theological Seminary and through Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1965, she attended Hebrew Union Biblical and Archeological School in Jerusalem, Israel where she participated in an archeological dig.
She began her career at Chowan College, Murfreesboro, as an instructor in physical education for women but quickly shifted her focus to the Department of Religion and Philosophy, where she remained a popular classroom teacher until the date of her retirement in 1989.
Upon her retirement in 1989 Esther Whitaker was honored as Faculty Emeritus.
In 2005, Esther Whitaker moved with her husband to Springmoor Retirement Community. She was an active member of Wake Forest Baptist Church. Along with her husband, Esther received the North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award in 2009.
In addition to her late husband, Mrs. Whitaker is preceded in death by her parents and sister, Evelyn Adams Land, formerly of Laurel, Md.
She is survived by her sons, Barry Eugene Whitaker and his wife, Rebecca of Raleigh and Garry Bruce Whitaker and his wife, Pamela, of Winston Salem; grandchildren, Amy Whitaker Tamayo of Davie, Fla. and Jean Ann Whitaker Gilfus, of Fayetteville, two great grandchildren William Radford and Jackson Kerr Tamayo.
Memorial donations may be made to the Bruce and Esther Whitaker Scholarship, Chowan University, 1 University Place, Murfreesboro, North Carolina 27855.