James Malcolm Whitney of Watertown and more recently of Monument Beach, Bourne, Massachusetts, was born Feb. 8, 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts. Malcolm passed peacefully with family members on Jan. 30, 2016.
He was the loving husband to Edith L. (Keizer) Whitney for 58 wonderful years; father of three children: Curtis Whitney of Watertown, Heather Whitney Kennedy and her husband Christopher Kennedy of Weston, Holly Whitney Fitzgerald and her husband Peter Fitzgerald of Belmont: also three grandchildren Luella Fitzgerald, Brooke Kennedy and Pierce Kennedy. He was the brother of the recently passed Robert Whitney and his beloved surviving wife Sylvia of Watertown and their daughter Jackie Whitney Halas of Belmont. In addition, he also leaves many cousins in Texas and South Carolina.
Growing up as a child in Watertown with his brother Robert under the care of their grandmother Elizabeth Whitney, Malcolm worked in the newspaper business, starting in deliveries and eventually running the Herald Traveler News paper distribution, later establishing Whitney News in Waltham. He also worked as a driver for Lewando’s furrier until he entered the Navy in 1942, serving as a Quartermaster aboard the Destroyer Escort, then the USS Hilbert. His ship was awarded eight battle stars throughout the Philippines under Admiral Halsey’s Third Fleet to include Mariana Operations, Western Caroline Islands, Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa Gunto, Japan and finally clearing Yokosuka Bay and Tokyo Bay allowing the USS Missouri to enter the harbor for the Japanese Armistice.
After returning from the War, Mal opened his insurance office in Watertown with then partner John Maninno. In the 1980s the Company was incorporated as J.M. Whitney Insurance Inc. and J.M. Whitney & Co. Inc. Real Estate. Both companies are currently being run by Curtis Whitney and Heather Whitney.
In 1952 Malcolm was elected President of the Watertown Boosters Club and began his involvement in local and state politics.
In 1953 Malcolm was elected to State Chair of the Massachusetts Council of Young Republicans and was appointed Chief Administrative Aide to State Senate President, Richard Furbush. That year he was also elected to his first term as a Watertown Assessor, and in 1966 he was elected as Chairman of the Board of Assessors, a position he held until 1984, after being elected as President of the Watertown Town Council in 1983. Throughout this period he was also active in the Middlesex County Association of Assessing Officers including being elected its president in 1968. He was involved with the International Association of Assessing Officers since 1975 and became a recognized expert in cases pertaining to municipal finance and property tax appeal cases.
Upon moving to Monument Beach in Bourne, Malcolm was appointed Chairman of the local Board of Assessors, a position he held for over 10 years.
Malcolm was constantly working diligently for Watertown youth and youth sports. He was recognized as a driving force bringing Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion baseball to Watertown. He was appointed as an Advisory Committee Chair to establish the Watertown Recreation Department. He was also one of the original proponents petitioning the Town Meeting to establish the new Boys Club of Watertown (later the Boys and Girls Club of Watertown) on Saltonstall Park. While serving as President of the Boys Club, the Club’s Golf and Tennis tournaments were launched.
The J. Malcolm Whitney Playground, located behind the Lowell School, where the first Little League baseball game was played in Watertown in 1952, was dedicated in 2002.
His community service includes:
Past president of Watertown Boys Club, Watertown Kiwanis Club, and Watertown Boosters Club, as well as Past Exalted Ruler of the Watertown Lodge of Elks, and Athletic Officer of the American Legion Baseball team. He was a member of the Watertown Masonic Lodge AF&AM and the Scottish Rite and the Watertown Amvets.
Throughout his life he loved fishing and boating with family and friends on Buzzards Bay, the Vineyard and Nantucket islands, as well as building homes on the Cape and in New Hampshire, taking his family skiing and youth groups hiking in New Hampshire. He always enjoyed organizing and helping with youth programs, as well as going to Red Sox and Patriots games and donating tickets every year to local children and families.
As a great American you are loved and you shall be missed…
A Funeral Service will be celebrated on Saturday Feb. 6, 2016 at 10 a.m in the MacDonald, Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home, 270 Main St. Watertown. Relatives & friends kindly invited. Burial to follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Watertown. Visiting hours Friday 3-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Malcolm may be made to the Watertown Boys & Girls Club, 25 Whites Ave. Watertown, MA 02172 or to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168 Boston, MA 02284.