NEW ULM - James R. Whitman, 81, of New Ulm, passed away Friday, June 13, 2014 at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, MN from pneumonia.
Funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 19, at the United Church of Christ in New Ulm with the Rev. Hank Campbell officiating. Burial will be in the New Ulm City Cemetery following the service with full military honors being conducted by the New Ulm Area Comrades of Valor Honor Guard.
Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, and 7:30-8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home, SOUTH CHAPEL, in New Ulm and will continue for one hour prior to the time of service at the church on Thursday.
To leave an online condolence or to sign the guest book for his family go to www.mvfh.org.
James Richard Whitman, the son of Don and Dolores Whitman, was born February 20, 1933 in Fargo, ND and grew up in Grand Forks, ND spending summers in Bemidji, MN at the lake. After high school, Jim enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict, and after four years of service decided to enroll at West Lake College of Music in Los Angeles, CA to expand on his talents as a jazz pianist and further pursue his love of music. While at West Lake College of Music Jim met Karen, his wife of 54 years. They were united in marriage on July 24, 1959 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jim's work as a musician took the Whitmans to San Antonio, Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and eventually Santa Barbara, CA. Before the birth of their son Eric they returned to Minnesota.
Besides his music, over the years Jim enjoyed motorcycling, sports cars, boating, had an interest in aviation, and was a talented artist and photographer. A kind man, Jim loved his family, the pets over the years that were a part of it, and friends.
He is survived by son, Eric (Wendy) Whitman of Chaska, MN, several cousins, nieces, a nephew, and many wonderful friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Karen Ann Wagner Whitman; parents, brother Robert Whitman; sister Dodie Ralph, and several cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Brown County Humane Society.