The Obituary of Anna Marie Whitman
How does one sum up over 82 years of a life well lived? How could anyone possibly sum up the life of Anna Whitman? Knowing full well that it’s not possible, the following words will be our very best attempt at it.
Anna Marie (Berkey) Whitman was born in her family’s home on April 26 of 1939. She took on her role as the baby of the family, being the youngest of 10 children to Joseph and Hazel (Barnett) Berkey. She started school in a one room schoolhouse, but graduated from PAHS in the Class of 1957. She got to work straight away at Pramco, followed by the Country Villa, Blose McGregor, and then the Punxsutawney Area School District as custodial staff until she retired.
Phillip Arthur “Art” Whitman, the love of Anna’s life, her sweetheart, entered her life when she was 17 years old. A few years later, on May 6, 1960, they were married. They planted their roots on Snyder Hill in their house, built with their own “blood, sweat, and tears.” Together, they made their house a home with an open door policy and the most amazing view. Over the years, it was flooded with laughter, game nights, weekly family dinners, the scent of cookies, stuffing balls, and homemade rolls. There was kickball, backyard cookouts, and always a houseful (or swimming pool full) of neighbors, family, and friends. Absolutely no one was allowed to leave hungry. Through it all, Anna kept her home with impeccable tidiness. As a firm believer that the early bird gets the worm, she often had the laundry done, floors scrubbed (on hands and knees), and meals prepared for the day before her girls even got up for school.
A common theme in this life is that time is a thief. There is never enough. Art and Anna shared 37 beautiful years of marriage and raised 5 incredible daughters. He passed away in 1997. As she faced everything, Anna faced her life without him with courage and grace. She held tight to her faith and loved God and her family with all of her heart.
She found countless amounts of joy in her life. Breakfast or lunch out with friends. A good game of Scrabble, except for maybe on the rare occasion she lost. Peanut butter. Peanut butter and bananas on toast. Peanut butter milkshakes from Joe’s Drive In, or, who are we kidding, milkshakes from anywhere. Tomato sandwiches and gardening. Solitaire, firmly believing that you’d need to wake up early in the morning to “beat old Sol.” She was convinced there was little that a good meal, a thoughtful and well timed greeting card, a strong hug, or a weak cup of tea couldn’t make better, if not fix entirely, and she generously gave them all. She never let a conversation end without saying “I love you.” She thoroughly enjoyed hiding around dark corners and scaring the daylights out of the unsuspecting, laughing hysterically while doing so. She spoiled her grandchildren beyond belief with love, quality time, and food. She always made spaghetti and meatballs when her grandchildren were around. She loved blueberry picking. Above all, she found joy in her church community and her faith in God.
She was quick witted and quick to let her sons-in-law know when they needed a shave and a haircut. She will always be the queen of one-liners. She was so welcoming to everyone and had an enormous capacity for love. At the age of 75 she could be seen, in an old pair of Carhartt overalls, shoveling snow off the roof of her house, much to the dismay and entertainment of her family, neighbors, and random passers-by. She treasured time spent with children, grandchildren, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews and her wonderful friends. She enjoyed cooking and sharing meals with all those she cared for. She spent numerous hours visiting people in hospitals and nursing homes.
Even after suffering a stroke in 2016, Anna battled back with courage and determination and made a miraculous recovery. Even with her new circumstances she held onto her faith and shared the Love of Jesus with all those around her. She served humbly, fought fiercely, loved wholeheartedly, and gave so selflessly.
There is no such thing as a timely death. No amount of time with loved ones is ever enough. However, there is such a thing as a beautiful death. That is what God gifted Anna. Surrounded by prayers and singing, she left this life peacefully in the house she built with the family she built.
"Her story will be told by the family tree that stemmed from the roots she and Art planted. She is survived by her “handful of daughters,” as she liked to call them, who have their own beautiful families: Kim and Bryan Blythe, Karen and Scott Sallack, Kelly and Troy Metz, Kathi and Sam Barr, and Kandee and Casey Doherty, and grandchildren: Morgan and Alyssa Blythe, Michael and Cassie Cook, Jameson and Elise Metz, and Mackenzie and Madi Barr. She is also survived by her sisters Pauline “Jane” Shirey, Betty Cukanna, and Elsie Young, and her big brother Paul “Jim” Berkey. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Art, her sister Imogene “Sis'', four brothers, David, Clyde, Howard and infant Harold Berkey."
In lieu of flowers, please consider doing any of the following: Drop a little more into your church's offering plate the next time it comes around. Support Vacation Bible School or contribute to a mission. If you don't have a faith community of your own to support, consider One Life Church and one of its many missions. Make a donation to a charity that's meaningful to you. Stock up on greeting cards. Take a friend out for breakfast. Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger working outside on a cold day. Visit an ailing friend. Perform an act of kindness. We think she would like that.
Friends will be received from 9 -11 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, January 8, 2022, at One Life Church, 500 Pine Street, Punxsutawney. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the church, officiated by Pastor Guy Smith. Masks will be required.
Online condolences may be made at www.shumakerfh.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Anna Marie Whitman, please visit our floral store.