Loretta WhitakerSeptember 7, 1934 ~ December 11, 2017 (age 83)
Loretta Whitaker, age 83, died peacefully in the home of her niece, on Dec. 11, 2017. Ms. Loretta Whitaker was born September 7, 1934 in Evarts, Kentucky to Judge Samuel Whitaker and Mary Saylor Whitaker. Loretta received her B.M.E. from Georgetown College and her M.A. from Murray State University. She began teaching choral music in the Paducah Public Schools in 1958 and retired in 1986. Ms. Whitaker was a member of the First Baptist Church of Paducah. While teaching at Paducah… Tilghman High School, Ms. Whitaker received numerous awards and honors which included the Kentucky Jaycees “Outstanding Young Educator of Kentucky,” one of the “Outstanding Young Women in America,” award of merit from the American Federation of Music Clubs, Duchess of Paducah, Kentucky Colonel, one of the “outstanding Personalities of the South” and an award for “Outstanding Leadership in the Field of Music.” Throughout her outstanding career, Ms. Whitaker continued to receive awards for achievement and accomplishments in the field of education. In addition to school and classroom responsibilities, Ms. Whitaker was an active leader in her professional music organizations. She served as president of the Paducah- McCracken County Choral Directors Association, choral vice-chairman for the First District, chairman of the Kentucky All-State Chorus, guest adjudicator and clinician in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. She served as Assistant director of the All-American Youth Honor Musicians Choir to Spain, Europe, Japan and was the Director for the Mexico and London tours. Ms. Whitaker’s affiliations include the Paducah Education Association, Kentucky Education Association, National Education Association, Paducah-McCracken County Choral Directors Association, First District Music Educators, Kentucky Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, and is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association. She was a member of the Paducah chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution. Upon retirement, Loretta went on to teach an additional 5 years in Crab Orchard, Kentucky while caring for her parents. “Stack”, as she was affectionately called by her students, was a life changer. Fostered by the great educational institution of Paducah Tilghman High School and guided by her enormous musical talent, change in a student’s life, under her direction, was inevitable. Her teaching was most times firm, sometimes explosive, often times gentle, and unexpectedly compassionate. She could hold the attention of an auditorium packed with excited graduating students and parents with a turn and crossing of her arms, and direct a fortissimo with the slightest lift of a finger. Through her unrelenting “determination-of-belief” in each student, many have said, “She was able to bring things (talents) out of me that I didn’t know were there.” Loretta was of an era where many of her 3 night musical and “Another Shade of Blue” performances were standing room only. Loretta dazzled the Paducah audiences with the amazing talent of her students. The ginormous sets, dancing and singing rivaled Broadway. Loretta’s life and career were centered around her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ, love for her family and her unswerving belief that each student was a unique and worthy individual. Those who know her realize we are laying to rest a one of a kind. She is survived by three sisters, Pauline (Kenneth) Wall of Danville, KY; Mary Aline (George) Hail of Benton, KY; Laura Ruth (Lee) Durham of Mt. Vernon, KY; and a brother, Dr. Samuel Earl (Marilyn) Whitaker of Columbus, Ohio. Nieces of Mrs. Whitaker are Myra (Theodore) Munday of Stanford, KY; Mary Margaret (Marc) Luker of Benton, KY; Sarah Atkinson (Timothy) of Paducah, KY; Laura Lee Wesley (William) of Stanford, KY; Debbie Daye (Pete) DeWilde and Samara (Chris) Allan both of Galloway, OH, and a number of great nieces, great nephews and great-great nieces. She is proceeded in death by her parents Judge Samuel and Mary Saylor Whitaker of Stanford, KY; a sister, Charlene (George) Swope of Stanford, KY; a niece Dr. Tammy (William) Hammett of Delaware, OH; and a nephew Kenneth (Lisa) Wall of Louisville, KY. Visitation will be held from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday, December 15, 2017 at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah. An additional visitation will be held from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at the Spurlin Funeral Home in Stanford, Kentucky. Graveside service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, December 18, 2017 in the Buffalo Springs Cemetery, Stanford, Kentucky. The family request that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to the Paducah Tilghman Choral Department or the American Cancer Society local chapter.