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Jerry N. Whittle

Obituary for Jerry N. Whittle

January 10, 1947 - November 10, 2017
Rushton, Louisiana | Age 70


Jerry N. Whittle
Rushton, LA

Jerry Whittle was born on January 10, 1947 in Seneca, South Carolina, and passed away on November 10, 2017 surrounded by family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Delzie Cleo McGuffin Whittle and Ambus "Pat" Whittle; his sister, Patsy Louise Whittle; and by his first wife, Karin Winkle Whittle.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 34 years, Merilynn (M.J.) Whittle; daughter Christina Ann Richardson Pedro and spouse John Pedro II; son John Bee Richardson and spouse Laurie Ann Lusk ; grandchildren Xavier Pedro, Giana Pedro, Tessa Boyle, Jonathan Richardson, and Sara Elizabeth Richardson; several great-grandchildren; nephews and niece Roger "Dale" Chrisley, Danus Chrisley, Marilyn Jane "Janie" Chrisley Davis; brother-in-law Miles "Smoky" Chrisley; cousins Mary Venaas, Joan Dunlap, Jimmy Powell, Wayne Powell, Ronnie Phillips, and many others; and the countless students to whom he served as a mentor and father figure.

Mr. Whittle was a proud graduate of Clemson University, where he earned a degree in English, and from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he earned a master's degree in Creative Writing. While he held various occupations throughout his lifetime, his passion for language and literacy led him to teach braille at the Louisiana Center for the Blind for over three decades. He worked with over 1,000 students, giving them the gift of braille literacy, and taught countless teachers and blindness professionals that braille literacy is a key for success for blind children and adults. Through his work in the National Federation of the Blind, Mr. Whittle was also able to transform countless other lives and serve in many leadership positions, both in Louisiana and nationally. His signature sense of humor, his willingness to share his life experiences, and his ability to establish genuine connections with people from all walks of life positioned him as an icon in the blind community.

Jerry loved baseball, gardening, the Clemson Tigers, reading, writing, and bluegrass, but his biggest love was Merilynn. He often persuaded Merilynn to bake him cornbread or apple pie, two of his favorites. He was an engaging public speaker, a gifted braille teacher, a prolific author and playwright, a loyal friend, and a deeply faithful Christian. Yet, the essence of his life is only partially captured by these qualities. The life that Jerry Whittle led was one of sacrifice, service, and spirit. With his incomparable wit, and his unwavering devotion to the people that he loved, the influence that Jerry Whittle has had on this world will undoubtedly ring energetically for generations to come.

The writings of William Faulkner always remained close to Mr. Whittle's heart. "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore." With these words from his beloved author, we begin to say good-bye to our teacher, mentor, and friend. Beyond this, these words remind us to live with the courage and determination that Mr. Whittle both embodied and challenged each of us to achieve in our own lives.

Visitation was on Monday, November 13, 2017, from 5:00-7:00 pm at Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston, Louisiana. A second visitation and burial will be held in South Carolina, with visitation and services held at Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home in Central, South Carolina. Visitation will be from 5:00 – 7:00pm on November 18th and again on November 19th from 1:00-2:00pm.

The funeral services will be held at 2:00pm on November 19th. He will be buried at Memory Gardens in Clemson, South Carolina.

In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to the Buddy Program of the Louisiana Center for the Blind at

Condolences may be expressed online at or at Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home, Central, SC.

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Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory

108 Cross Creek Road
Central, SC 29630
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