Larchmont, NY has lost its Chief Optimist. Robert Whitaker (who passed away surrounded by love on May 23, 2018 at age 47) was a “glass half full” – or, if he was around, glass topped all the way up - sort of person if ever there was one. The sun shone just a bit brighter when he was near, and if it didn’t, he was first to tell you that rain made flowers more colorful.
Growing up in New Jersey, Rob got into exactly the kind of hijinks one might expect from a kid whose grandfather owned the local pub. When his charm and crooked smile couldn’t get him out of trouble, his devoted Mom Marylou swooped in to the rescue. His faithful TKE brothers counted on his “up for anything” approach to college life and owe most of their best stories to his daring and ingenuity.
In 1998, that smile, charm and optimism swept his beautiful wife, Courtney Maggio Whitaker, off her feet on a chance meeting in New Orleans, and they didn’t look back, moving from New York City to Larchmont to raise their three children. The suburbs only fueled Rob’s zest for nurturing his family’s passions and friendships. Rob had a successful career in media sales, however he was most proud, and defined by his other roles – Skipper for his son Michael’s (age 10) endless fishing expeditions, Chief Builder at ‘Whitaker Boyz Skate Shop’ with Jack (age 12) and Assistant Personal Stylist to his daughter Claire (age 14), who has inherited his keen fashion sense.
In October 2013, Rob was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, and this is where our hero emerges. Not once did he let his disease encroach on his gift for soaking up the best that life offered. He doubled down on authentic moments with his children, he upped his game on being an attentive, loving husband, and not for a second would he let anyone feel uncomfortable or sad for his lot in life. He shared the wild, wonderful and sometimes awful stories of living with cancer in a way that disarmed and reassured you that this was all just another of his crazy adventures - that cancer had met its match in this Jersey boy. He created a journal of his treatments and reflections not to be missed (www.robscnote.com), which not only helped his loved ones understand this roller-coaster of hope and disappointment but became a tool for new patients at Sloan-Kettering where he received the best care possible. Rob’s medical team, the support of his family and most certainly his positivity afforded him nearly 5 extra years – such a gift to anyone lucky enough to know him.
Rob is predeceased by his beautiful older sister, Johnlynn Marie, his beloved little brother, Joseph, and he is survived by his loving family: Courtney Maggio Whitaker, Claire, Jack and Michael, as well as his amazing parents, Robert & Marylou Whitaker, and brother, Michael Whitaker.
In lieu of flowers, the family is immensely grateful for support to cover needs for their children in coming months and years, donations can be found at (https://uk.gofundme.com/whitaker-family-support).
To celebrate Rob, we invite you to join us for Mass at St. Augustine Church, 18 Cherry Avenue, Larchmont NY on Saturday May 26th 11am with a reception to follow at 12:30pm at the Larchmont Shore Club, 1 Oak Bluff, Larchmont NY.