Dr. John S. Whiteneck, Jr. was born in Aline, OK, 3-14-1905. He was the sixth of fourteen children & the first surviving son born to John Samuel and Cora Lee (Beard) Whiteneck. John liked to tell people that his mother dedicated his life for the cause of peace from the time he was a very little boy. His entire life was spent promoting world peace through various civic organizations and church that he was involved in.
He graduated from McPherson College in 1928, Bethany Biblical Seminary in 1935, and then earned his PhD. at the Iliff School of Theology in 1942. He was ordained by the Church of the Brethren in 1941, & after serving at various churches around the Midwest was called to the First Congregational Church of Bakersfield, CA. in 1945. Under his ministry the membership of the church tripled.
While in Bakersfield, Dr. Whiteneck founded the Friendship House Community Center. His vision was to provide social, recreational, educational & community activities for the residents of Southeast Bakersfield. For the last 44 years the Friendship House has provided youth & senior programs as well as year-round sports programs for the citizens of Bakersfield, leaving a lasting legacy of his vision for the community.
Dr. Whiteneck also served in Bakersfield as Chaplain of the Rotary Club & was a delegate to the 1953 Rotary International in Paris, France. He served on the boards of the Red Cross, the Child Guidance Clinic, Social Service Agencies, Houchin Comm. Blood Bank & was a past president of the Greater Bakersfield Ministerial Assoc. He served for seven years on the Kern Co. Comm. on Alcoholic Rehabilitation. He was founder & first president of the Kern County Farm Labor Minister, & a Scottish Rite Mason.
In 1961, Dr. Whiteneck came to minister to the Bethel Congregational Church of Christ in Beaverton, OR, where he served for 12 years. He was dearly loved & made many life long friends. Later, he went on to work as Planned Giving Officer for Lewis & Clark College where he was very successful.
But Dr. Whiteneck was always pursuing world peace. During his years of ministry, John one flew to Washington DC to march with Martin Luther King at the Washington Memorial where Dr. King gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. When John left the ministry he began to work full time for peace. To further world peace, he endowed scholarships at Pacific University & setup Charitable Remainder Trusts at Pacific University, Lewis & Clark College, The Mennonite Foundation & the University of Portland.
He founded an organization called Generations for Peace when he observed a lack of communication between the older generation and the younger generation about the travestied of war. The organization established the Peace Park in the Park Blocks of downtown Portland & commemorated a memorial of two large pieces of black marble signifying the two generations. His Generations for Peace was a predecessor of the Oregon Peace Institute, which involved former Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse & Doug Strain, CEO OS ESI.
John was a long time member of the Beaverton Rotary Club, who granted him an honorary membership on recognition of his years of dedicated service when he became to infirm to participate in the meetings.
John once wrote that the Rotary International was "the single best positioned peace organization on this planet." As part of Rotary, he traveled to Russia with a group to explore ways to perpetuate world peace. This trip set the stage for the ultimate establishment of Rotary Clubs in Russia.
John married Lois Heckman in 1933 & they had 3 children. John was predeceased by a wife, Arlene (Saylor) Whiteneck and infant son and then two son, John S. Whiteneck III & Hugh F. Whiteneck.
John is survived by his wife Lois of Portland, & daughter, Gwen Lee Whiteneck of Gresham & 3 siblings, Jennie Newton of Waynoka, OK; Dr. Rhonald Whiteneck of Norman, OK and Elden Whiteneck of Sarcoxie, MO.
John passed from this life at the age of 95 on Dec. 21, 200. A memorial service for Dr. John S. Whiteneck will be Sat. Jan. 6, 2001, at 2pm at the Bethel Congregational Church of Christ in Beaverton, OR.
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