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Agnes Berkley Abney Whittington, 85, Henderson

HENDERSON, KY - Agnes Berkley Abney Whittington, 85, Henderson, died at 7:10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, at Heritage Hospice in Evansville.

Ms. Whittington was born in Napton, Mo., on Aug. 19, 1926. She was the youngest of five daughters of Mary Berry Smith Abney and Harry Fox Hood Abney.

Ms. Whittington attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she studied art.

While a student there, she met and married George P. Whittington, who was studying journalism. They were married for 49 years, until his death in 1996.

Ms. Whittington enjoyed learning and growth throughout her life. She began practicing hatha yoga in 1964 and continued until 2007, when illness forced her to stop. She also taught yoga, and her dedication and outstanding physical condition served as inspiration to her students.

Ms. Whittington was a private pilot who logged more than 2,000 hours in the air. She earned both instrument and commercial ratings and was trained in aerobatics. She enjoyed doing barrel rolls, spins and figure eights in her red and white Citabria high above the Ohio River.

Throughout their marriage, Ms. Whittington and her husband traveled widely and enjoyed studying languages, including French, Russian, Spanish and Italian. They also enjoyed various artistic disciplines, including sculpture, jewelry making, metal smithing, wood carving and ceramics. Ms. Whittington also enjoyed painting and was an award-winning water colorist.

Ms. Whittington was active in political and community affairs. In the early 1960s, she served as vice president of the National Women's Republican Club before changing her political affiliation to the Democrat Party in the late 1980s. She unsuccessfully challenged a 30-year incumbent for a Kentucky state senate seat in the 1990s. Ms. Whittington founded the Henderson chapter of the National Organization for Women, and served twice as regent of the General Samuel Hopkins Chapter of the DAR. She sat on the boards of a number of area bodies, including the Henderson Air Board, Ohio Valley Arts League, College Foundation Board, Kentucky State Ethics Board and Henderson Library Board. She received the KCTCS President's Award in 2003. Ms. Whittington enjoyed acting and, during the 1980s, performed leading roles in a number of plays with the Repertory People of Evansville.

Ms. Whittington is survived by two sisters, Mary Hillis of Colorado and Madge Swisher of Saint Louis; four children, Charles of Lexington, Richard of Florida, and Janet and Elizabeth, both of Henderson; grandsons, Daniel and Alex; and one great-grandson. Her husband, George P. Whittington, died in 1996. They were married for 49 years.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Rudy-Rowland Funeral Home.

Friends may call from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

The Rev. Rick Nollmann will officiate. Burial will be in Fairmont Cemetery.

Friends may call from after noon today at the funeral home.

Pallbearers will be Norman Edwards, Jeff Gish, Josh Lancaster, David Denton, Ed Carroll and Chad Hobgood.
 

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