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1917 Aretta 2015

Aretta Whitaker

November 22, 1917 — March 5, 2015

Obituary Image

Aretta Inez Lay Whitaker, 97, passed from her earthly life on Thursday morning, March 5, 2015, after a long illness.  She was born November 22, 1917, in Jellico, Kentucky, the second of eight children to Albert and Estella (Rose) Lay.  She moved to Harlan County, Kentucky, as a young girl and lived there until the last three years of her life, which were spent in Fayetteville, Tennessee.  A 1936 graduate of Harlan High School, she met and married Paul Benjamin Whitaker, and they made their home in Loyall.  She had a passion for reading, traveling, and collecting antiques. She also had a true love and compassion for the many children she taught as a long-time private kindergarten teacher at Loyall.  Aretta was a member of the First Baptist Church of Loyall, a charter member of Beta Sigma Phi, and served as a hospital volunteer for many years. One to never turn a blind eye to an important issue or injustice, Aretta took up many social and community causes throughout her life.  Her true love, however, was her family.  She and Paul had two children, Vivian Lorraine Cooper Beatty (Jerry) of Middletown, Ohio, and James “Jay” Albert (Alene) Whitaker of Fayetteville, Tennessee, formerly of Fresh Meadows, all of whom survive.  She is also survived by two grandchildren, Paula Whitaker (Michael) Whisenant of Fayetteville, Tennessee, and J. Todd Whitaker of Durham, North Carolina, as well as two great-grandchildren, Mary Addison Whitaker and Andrew Michael Whisenant.  She was preceded in death by her husband of fifty years, her parents, sisters Jessie (William)McSpadden and Jeanette (Arthur) Selvey , and brothers Harold (Jenny) Lay and Pete Lay. She is survived by sisters Bobbie (Homer) Martin of Inverness, Florida, and Norma (Charles) Clawson of Kingsport, Tennessee, brother Albert Lay, Jr., of Kingsport, and a host of special nieces and nephews. She and her family were especially thankful for the many special caregivers of Lincoln Medical Home Health and Hospice who provided such loving and gentle care during her last two years of life.  Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 8 th from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Loyall First Baptist Church with the funeral service immediately following at 4:00 p.m.  Burial will be on Monday, March 9 th at noon in Resthaven Cemetery alongside her husband, Paul. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Lincoln Medical Home Health and Hospice of Fayetteville, Tennessee.

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