Rev. Carl Haycock Whittier, Jr. died on July 7, 2017 at the age of 87.
Carl, Jr. was born on October 15, 1929 in Providence, RI to parents Hilda Wilkinson Whittier and Carl Whittier, Sr. He grew up in Nahant, MA and attended Lynn English High School. Carl graduated from Harvard University in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and then earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1955.
Rev. Whittier was ordained on June 13, 1955 by Westminster Unitarian Church of Providence, RI, where he carried out his first year of ministry. Carl was then called to the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, IA, where he would serve from 1956 until 1960. In that year Rev. Whittier was called to serve the First Parish Unitarian (now UU) Church of Scituate, MA. Rev. Whittier lovingly ministered to the Scituate congregation for twelve years. Then from 1972 to 1976 Carl ministered to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, MO, following which he was called to the First UU Church of Columbus, OH. Rev. Whittier served the Columbus Church for eleven years, until his retirement in 1987. In retirement, Carl was a member of the UU Fellowship of Falmouth, MA and later of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, MA.
In addition to his parish ministry, Carl carried out other vital service on behalf of the denomination. He served as President of the UUA’s Ohio-Meadville District from 1977 to 1979. Rev. Whittier was also a member of several committees within the district, including the Program Committee and the Youth Adult Committee. Finally, Carl served on the UUA’s Board of Trustees from 1985 until 1989, during which time he was an ex officio member of the Ohio-Meadville Board of Trustees.
Rev. Whittier also labored tirelessly on behalf of the communities to which he belonged through many non-denominational service organizations. He was a founding member of Massachusetts’s’ South Shore Community Action Council, and served as the organization’s president from 1962 to 1964. Rev. Whittier also sat on the boards of two community mental health groups, and while ministering to the Springfield congregation he served as President of Southwest Missouri Planned Parenthood from 1974 to 1976. In Columbus, Carl chaired the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, in addition to working with the commission’s and other city-wide interfaith clergy groups.
Rev. Whittier’s collected papers—including all his sermons and the majority of his newsletter columns—will be preserved in the Harvard Divinity School archives.
Carl was known by all for his dry sense of humor. In his spare time, he collected antique clocks, mostly acquired in his younger adulthood. He also read voraciously, and was a skilled crossword-puzzler. And Carl always had a cat to whom he was keenly devoted.
In reflecting upon the task of his denomination in 1965, Rev. Whittier expressed an aspirational vision for his ministry and faith—a vision that he would strive to realize throughout his decades of dedicated service:
We must see ourselves as a people united for a purpose. We would create a richer, more meaningful life for ourselves, both as individuals and as members of society. We would do all in our power to create a more perfect community in which all may attain their full potential.
He is survived by daughters Sarah Whittier and Nancy Whittier (Kate Weigand); and grandchildren Jonah, Eva, and Isaac Weigand-Whittier.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VNA and Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, P.O. Box 329, Northampton, MA 01060.
A memorial service took place on August 8, 2017 at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060.
Notes of condolence can be sent to Sarah Whittier at 190 Chestnut St, Florence, MA 01062.