Dr. John Hoffer Whittaker
1945 - 2019
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Dr. John Hoffer Whittaker, retired chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at LSU, passed away on July 26, 2019, after a five-year struggle with frontotemporal dementia. He is survived by his wife Judy Kahn, stepdaughter Charlotte Ryland, brother Richard Whittaker and wife Rue Harrison, brother Jeffrey Whittaker and wife Susan, and nieces Rebecca Whittaker and Christina Petersen. Born on June 16, 1945, in Martha's Vineyard, MA, to Richard and Christine Whittaker, John spent his youth in southern California. He was a serious student with superior athletic abilities and a deep interest in philosophy. John studied philosophy at Pomona College, and in 1974, earned his Ph.D. in philosophy of religion from Yale University. He first taught at the University of Virginia, followed by a position at LSU Baton Rouge, where he established and directed the Religious Studies Program. John was a gifted, beloved teacher. As one colleague put it, he was "more invested in what students had to say than in what he had to say to them." He received the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award in 1997. In 2011, he served as president of the Society for the Philosophy of Religion and received funds to establish the John H. Whittaker Award in Philosophy and Religious Studies at LSU. Aside from his intellectual life and family, John Whittaker loved nothing more than trout fishing. Every summer he packed his gear and headed west. He fished in remote, pure mountain streams in England and New Zealand, but those in Montana and Utah were where he found the most peace in his too-short life. The memorial service will be held August 10, 2019, at St. Alban's Chapel on the LSU campus, Baton Rouge. Coffee served at 11:30, service at 12:00 PM, and reception at 1:00 PM. Instead of flowers, please send donations to the John H. Whittaker Award in Philosophy and Religious Studies or your favorite charity. www.lsufoundation.org/johnwhittaker.

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Published in The Advocate from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10, 2019.
Memorial Gathering
11:30 AM
St. Alban's Chapel on the LSU campus
Memorial Gathering
01:00 PM
St. Alban's Chapel on the LSU campus
12:00 PM
St. Alban's Chapel on the LSU campus
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
September 1, 2019
I was stunned this morning to read about John's passing. I was a student of his at the University of Virginia in the early seventies. John was an extraordinarily important mentor for me as I learned from him about Wittgenstein, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and many other things. I took his courses, TA'd for him, socialized with him. He contributed in the early nineties to a volume I co-edited on the Love Commandments. We kept in touch until about a decade ago and then lost touch as I tried to connect intermittently. Now I see why we lost touch, sadly. I had no idea of his life's struggles in recent years.
John was a vibrant intellect and a joyous liver of life. He had an extraordinarily independent mind. He was a great friend and advisor to me for many years. May he rest in peace and may his family exult in the memory of what a remarkable existence his was.
Edmund Santurri
Professor of Philosophy and Religion
St Olaf College
Northfield, MN
Edmund Santurri
August 7, 2019
I never met a more professional gentleman. Their are men living here on earth with no illnesses that has the worse personality ever known. This man was ill and never mistreated a woman who cared for him. I personally was one that had the honor of providing care for him. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be able to serve such a wonderful man. Rest In Peace. Love Rosalyn
Rosalyn Carter
August 6, 2019
Saddened by the news of the passing of my favorite professor, but the sadness is tempered with joy that he may be no longer bound up in that cloud of unknowing. Peace to you.
Virginia Cailleteau
August 5, 2019
Thanks for touching the lives of so many Dr. Whittaker.
Allison Roberts
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