Ralph Ervin “Buddy” Whitley Jr., 64, passed away on March 18, 2019, at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford, Del., surrounded by his very dedicated and loving family. He was born on March 15, 1955, to the late Ralph E. Whitley Sr. and Patricia Nickerson Whitley Brock, in Everett, Wash.
Whitley married the love of his life, Helen Ann Berner, in 1971, and together they raised four sons. He served as a maintenance manager, working for several poultry plants, and even developing standards and systems that are still in place today. He was a dedicated family man and particularly adored his children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. He was looked upon as a “father figure” to many and was the patriarch of the family. He organized amazing Easter egg hunts for family and friends and even created the infamous “Golden Egg” Contest for the adults in the family.
He loved singing and playing his guitar at family gatherings. He not only enjoyed golf, pool and horseshoes, but was also a very capable carpenter and artisan at home. He was a confident, smart and outgoing person, well-liked in the business world. Whitley always carried an air of authority, yet was a “big softie” at heart when it came to children in the family.
In addition to his parents, Whitley was preceded in death by his siblings Patricia Hudson, Ronald Whitley, Candy Gudzelak and Cathy Webb; siblings-in-law Shane and Jeanie Mitchell, Tommy Toy and Walter “Bub” Marciano; and a niece, Jacklyn (Berner) Smith. He is survived by his wife, Helen; his children, Ralph E. Whitley III and his wife, Jenny Reid, A.J. Whitley and his wife, Kristen, Stephen Whitley and his wife, Marti, and Everett Whitley; grandchildren, Ralph “Rocky” Whitley, Stephanie Whitley, Danny Fague, Gavin Whitley, Mila Whitley, Kara Kansler and her husband, Rick, and Jayna Dunnigan; four great-grandchildren, Rilynn Witz, Ricky Kansler, Cove Kansler and Natalie Kansler; his sister Michelle Morgan of Coer d’Alene, Idaho; siblings-in-law Richard and Brenda Presley, James and Diane Coverdale, Robert and Barbara Wacom, Teresa Berner, Robert and Melissa Berner; his stepfather, Ronald Brock; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial and celebration of Whitley’s life will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Watson Funeral Home, 211 S. Washington Street, Millsboro, Del. A calling hour will start at 1 p.m., and at 2 p.m. friends will share memories of Whitley. Interment and disposition arrangements were private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorial contributions to Delaware Hospice; 100 Patriots Way; Milford, DE 19963. Condolences may be sent online at www.watsonfh.com.