James Walker Whittle
Source: 1960 Treasure Chest, p.34
The Life of J. Walker Whittle
James Walker Whittle was born in Wilcox County, Georgia July 6, 1921. While growing up his family attended the Southside church of Christ in Macon. He was baptized by W. Gaddys Roy in April 1947. He was married to the former Mary Louise Cobb on December 15, 1945. They were blessed with two daughters, Dwina Louise (Willis) and Rosemary (McKnight.)
Education was of significant importance to young Walker. He attended Georgia-Alabama School of Commerce, Macon, Ga., and after working with Swift and Company, in Macon, Ga. and in Jacksonville, Fla. for a few months, he enlisted in the U. S. Naval Seabees. He served 39 months, 33 in the South Pacific.
After being honorably discharged, he attended Georgia’s Mercer University where he received the B.A. Degree with honors in 1949. After this he was employed by The Bibb Company in Macon, Georgia. Then, he attended Macon Law School where he received the L.L.B. in 1952. In September 1954 he moved to Henderson, Tennessee to attend Freed-Hardeman College as a student, but also began part-time teaching. He studied the Bible and related subjects for three years, after which he became a full-time teacher in the Business Department and the Bible Department. In 1958, Walker received the M.A. Degree from George Peabody School of Education, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. With this achievement he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Business at F-HC. In 1956, he received his Masters of Business Administration, and in 1976 the Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi.
J. Walker Whittle began preaching as a young man in his home congregation in Macon, Georgia. From 1955-1957 he preached for the Fraley’s Chapel church of Christ in Corinth, Mississippi. He was assistant preacher for the Henderson church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee, in 1958 and 1959. From 1960-1963 he preached for the Wildersville, Tennessee church of Christ. He began preaching for the church at Scotts Hill, Tennessee in 1964 and continued there for the next 17 years. Then, during the mid 1970s he served as minister of the Enville church of Christ in Enville, Tennessee. Following this, he preached for thirteen years for Red Walnut church of Christ in Bath Springs, Tennessee. For fifteen years he spoke on the radio at least once per week, and for a number of years he preached 10 to 12 gospel meetings each year. Over the course of his preaching years he led in Bible Class teacher training, youth forums, and programs to train song leaders.
Over the years, brother Whittle wrote occasionally for the Gospel Advocate, Teenage Christian, and Minister’s Monthly.
The major portion of J. Walker Whittle’s work surrounded his devotion to Christian Education. He began teaching at Freed-Hardeman College in the Commercial Department in 1954. That year he also became the new Baseball coach. The following year he taught Physical Education classes. As noted, he soon became the Chairman of the Department of Business Administration, a position he held for a good many years. He taught accounting classes, courses on operating office machines, principles of economics, and several courses in the Bible Department. In 1974, he was named as Director of Cooperative Education And Placement.
Through the years, J. Walker Whittle served as sponsor of several student-related clubs. Among them were, sponsor for the Philomathean Club, sponsor for the Future Business Leaders of America, sponsor for Phi Beta Lambda, for the Business Club, for the Business Team, and for the ABSEL-Tennessee Tech Business Team.
Other positions he held at F-HC include Assistant of Development in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and for a time served as Vice-President for Institutional Advancement. He also served as Director of Alumni and College Relations, and he served in the Office of Development as Director of Congregational Giving.
There was one brief time when Dr. Whittle was involved in Christian Education away from Henderson, Tennessee. He was appointed President of Alabama Christian College (now Faulkner University). Beginning May 1, 1982 he served the next fourteen months at the helm of the Montgomery, Alabama based institution. Returning to Freed-Hardeman, he continued to be used in various roles.
Through the years before and after his time in Alabama, he found himself on several planning and supportive committees with others on the F-HC faculty including: the Committee For Student Affairs; the Student Life Committee; the Committee For Christian Training Series; the Committee for Communications Media; and the Inaugural Committee for the Selection of the President when Milton R. Sewell was selected university President in 1990.
J. Walker Whittle added to his life contributions by taking several leadership roles in community life. For a time he was president of the Henderson Civitan Club of Henderson. Tennessee. He also served for a time as Director of Cooperative Education and Placement at FHC and was founder and the first president of the Tennessee Cooperative Education Association. Professionally, Dr. Whittle was a former member of the Southern Economic Association, the Southern Finance Association, the Southern College Placement Association, Tennessee Placement Association, and the Tennessee Cooperative Education Association. He was selected to appear among the Outstanding Teachers of America in 1972 and 1973. In 1975, he was selected to appear in the Bicentennial Memorial Edition of "Personalities of the South."
Other civic contributations include serving as the Heart Fund Chairman for Chester County, Tennessee; Director of the West Tennessee Heart Association; and a Director of the Chester County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was Chairman of the Chester County Citizens Advisory Committee, the Chester County Job Opportunity Committee, and the Chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Henderson, Tennessee. For a time he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chester County Senior Citizens, Inc. and served as a County Election Commissioner.
J. Walker Whittle was known and beloved by thousands of students, and thousands more among churches of Christ. He had a special place in his heart for his home state of Georgia. He led many evangelistic campaigns over the years to different points in Georgia. Your web editor remembers well his own connections with the Whittle family. When daughter, Dwina, graduated from college, her first work was teaching at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Georgia. She taught Biology classes, and one of her 8th grade students was Scott Harp. Within a few years, she married and moved to Henderson to teach at F-HU in the Biology Department. When I left my Georgia home to became a student at F-HC in the fall of 1976, I was among a good number of other Georgia students who found a home away from home in the private domain of brother and sister Whittle. They seemed to live to make young people from Georgia feel at home in West Tennessee while they worked on their education. In later years, the Whittle family continued to influence my children when they left our Georgia home to attend Freed-Hardeman University.
J. Walker Whittle became Professor Emeritus of Business as he stepped into the world of retirement in 1993. However, though he was officially finished as an official educator, he was far from through assisting in building Freed-Hardeman University. As long as he lived, he was a strong supporter for young people. Also, new freedom of time ignited greater efforts in the Kingdom of Christ. He made fourteen mission trips to Russia, assisting in the planting of five churches of Christ in five different Russian cities.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Whittle taught in 22 different universities, colleges, institutes, secondary and elementary schools. In all of them his special interest was emphasizing the fundamentals of the "Free Enterprise System."
His beloved, Louise, passed from this life July 18, 2008. For the next nine years, J. Walker Whittle was seen on campus at the annual Bible Lectureships as well as ball games and other student activities. Until his death, he maintained his larger than life personality on campus and in the Christian community. All who knew him loved him. He passed from this life September 2, 2017 at the age of 96. Burial followed in the Henderson City Cemetery next to his beloved Louise, now united in their expectation of the Lord’s coming.
By Scott Harp, 11.16.2019
Sources: Gleanings from back issues of Freed-Hardeman College annuals, Treasure Chest, School Catalogs, Alumnograms, and FHC News releases, Preachers of Today, vol.3, p.444; an unpublished biographical sketch done during his lifetime, entitled, J. Walker Whittle - Biographical Sketch, author unknown);
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
1986-1986 Freed-Hardeman College Catalogue
Directions To Grave
The Henderson City Cemetery is located near downtown, Henderson Tennessee. Several church workers, gospel preachers, and especially educators who worked for Freed-Hardeman University are buried here. To find the Whittle family plot travel to the SE corner of the rear of the cemetery. It is probably best to enter from N. Franklin Ave. As soon as you see the first graves, stop the car and enter into the cemetery down beside the business that adjoins it. Toward the rear you will see the Whittle plot. Behind it is the Oldhams, Wilcoxsons, Gardners, and others connected with the church of Christ in Henderson.
Rear Of Henderson City Cemetery From SE Cnr.
The Whittle graves are to the left of this photo on top of the hill.
Photos Taken 02.2019
Webpage produced 11.16.2019
Courtesy Of Scott Harp