Mildred Stewart Whittaker, 75, of Rabun Gap, passed away Sept. 21, 2018.
The family will receive visitors on Monday, Sept. 24 at Beck Funeral Home from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at The Clayton First United Methodist Church Tuesday Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. with Reverend Jeremy Noffsinger officiating. Burial will follow at Rabun Memory Park.
Mildred was born July 5, 1943 in Pickens County, South Carolina. She graduated from Pickens County High School in 1960, then attended Lander College in Greenwood, South Carolina. She graduated from Lander with a degree in elementary education in 1964. She later earned a Masters of Education Degree from North Georgia College in 1986.
After graduating from Lander, Mildred moved to Columbus, Ga., to live with her Aunt Lois Phillips, who was a school teacher. Mildred was teaching fourth grade in Columbus when she met her late husband, Lynn Whittaker, on a blind date on Jan. 16, 1965. Lynn was stationed at Fort Benning, serving in the U.S. Army. The couple married on June 19, 1965, before Lynn left to serve in Vietnam.
After leaving the Army, Lynn went to work for the Georgia Power Company in Madison, Ga., in 1967. Lynn and Mildred had two children - Kim, born in 1968, and Stewart, born in 1970. The Whittakers moved to Rabun County in 1971, when Lynn was transferred with his job for Georgia Power.
Mildred was preceded in death by her parents Leroy S. Stewart and Amy Gilstrap Stewart of Pickens, S.C. and her husband, Lynn.
She is survived by her daughter, Kim Townsend and husband, Ronald of Calhoun, Ga.; son, Stewart and wife, Lisa of Albany, Ga.; three grandchildren, Grayson and Lindsey Whittaker and Zeke Townsend; siblings Fred (Brenda) Stewart of Pickens, S.C.; Catherine (Andrew) Whittaker of Greensboro, Ga. and Wanda (the late Melvin) Howard of Pickens; the late Jack Whittaker; sister-in-law Susan Whittaker of Greensboro, brother-in-law Richard (Gwen) Whittaker of Glennville, sister-in-law Shirley (the late James) Simmons of Greensboro and brother-in-law Tony Whittaker of Greensboro; 14 nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind many dear friends she shared life’s journey with and in recent years served as a support system during her eight-year battle with cancer.
Mildred taught fifth and seventh grades in the Rabun County School System until she retired in June 1999. She taught several generations of the same Rabun County families. Running into former students was a regular occurrence whenever she went out and about Clayton. She taught a total of 31 years.
Mildred had a personal relationship with Jesus. Raised a Methodist, she belonged to several Methodist Churches before moving to Rabun County. She joined Clayton First United Methodist Church on March 19, 1972, and was a faithful member for 46 years.
Through the years she served the church in numerous ways: as a Sunday School teacher, a greeter, a member of the alter guild, a member of the United Methodist Women’s Marie Embry Circle, and a volunteer at the Family Life Center. She also served as secretary and Lay Leader for the Clayton FUMC Administrative Council. As the Lay Leader she represented the church at the annual North Georgia Conference.
Mildred loved Rabun County and put that love into action through her community involvement. She and Lynn were active members of the Citizens of Georgia Power, a service organization for Georgia Power Company employees and their spouses and later the Ambassadors of Georgia Power for retired employees.
An avid life-long reader, Mildred served on the Rabun County Library Friends of the Library Executive Board and enjoyed helping with the annual book sales. She was also a member of the Rabun Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.
She was a member of ADK, an honorary teacher’s sorority, for more than 35 years and was an active member of the Rabun County Retired Educators Association.
Mildred was also active in the Clayton Woman’s Club and the Clayton Music and Literary Arts Club. Through her work with the Silver Eagles, an auxiliary for the Clayton-Rabun County Chamber of Commerce, she helped promote local businesses. She was also a strong supporter of the local Relay for Life.
Mildred loved gardening. In her retirement, she spent many happy hours tending her flowers and marking the change of seasons by what was blooming.
Above all, Mildred treasured the time she spent with family and friends talking, laughing, and sharing stories, often with a cup of coffee within reach.
The family asks that donations be made to The Family Life Center C/O Clayton First United Methodist Church P.O. Box 703 Clayton, GA 30525 in memory of Mildred.