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R.J. Whiting

July 4, 1934 - March 2, 2023

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Robert “RJ” Whiting, a resident of Falls, PA, age 88, passed away on March 2, 2023. He was married to the former Elizabeth Shivak who preceded him in death. He is survived by his daughter Sandra and her husband, Randy Dickison, Old Forge, his grandson Thomas Osieski and his partner Nicole Dale, Milford, and granddaughter Anna Osieski and her partner Dillon Devine, Lauren Run. He had been one of four Whiting brothers, along with Charles, Donald and David Whiting.

A native of Scranton, RJ married Elizabeth at age 27, and helped her take on the responsibility of raising her five young children from a previous marriage. Although they never acknowledged him, he never stopped asking about them, referring to them as his children, and their children, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Robert (RJ) was a graduate of the early Johnson School Carpentry program and spent most of his years as a self-employed contractor. He served in the Korean War as a demolition expert and Army photographer from 1954-1957. He also served for nearly 18 years in the National Guard, 109th Infantry. As anyone can attest, RJ was as patriotic as anyone could ever be. Born on the 4th of July, 1934, he would proudly wear his fedora decorated with Flag pins, would pass out pens and notebooks decorated with the American Flag and would fly only American-made Flags at his small, but comfortable home. He collected porcelain eagles and any patriotic symbol of the United States and would joke that “everyone got a day off and celebrated on his birthday.” To his last days, he watched the news and talked politics to anyone who would listen.

He loved smoking his pipe, and anyone that knew him knew that he never put it down. He had a big collection of hand-carved pipes and loved his apple and cherry tobaccos. He also loved his goodies. Anything chocolate and anything ice cream were always his favorite treats. He’d tell anyone that would listen how proud he was of his two closest grandchildren, Tom and Anna, and was most happy whenever they visited.

Throughout his career as a contractor, he built, repaired and remodeled many homes throughout the Scranton area and worked until age 75. His trademark was always arranging things at a 45 degree angle, as 90 degrees was “boring”.

RJ lived his life on his own terms. He didn’t care if you agreed with him or his choices. He was a “stubborn Irishman” who would always get his point across, whether you liked it or not. An avid storyteller, he always had a story you had not heard, no matter how long you had known him.

The family would like to thank the wonderful, caring staff at the VA Hospital and VA Hospice where he lived his last days as well as his at-home wound care nurse, Cheryl from Advanced Home Health Care. His viewing will be a celebration of his life rather than a loss of a father, grandfather and friend. He would want it that way. Please, feel free to share a touching story or two about RJ, tell the family what you remember most about him.

A public viewing will be held on Saturday, March 11, from 3-6pm, at the Thomas P. Kearney Funeral Home, Inc., 517 North Main Street, Old Forge, with services by rev. Dr. Michael Shambora and military honors by the AMVETS Honor Guard to conclude. Private burial, Fairview Memorial Park, Elmhurst Twp.

As in his lifetime, it will be in his passing – it’s parade day in downtown Scranton – “everyone gets a day off and can celebrate” his unique life. For those unable to attend, have a beer in honor of RJ Whiting.