May 03, 2023

Rev. John Whitner, 89, passed away on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at home with family.

John Addison Whitner, III was born in Atlanta, Ga. on April 12, 1934 to Joseph and Dorothy (Coffin) Whitner. As a child, his family lived in Atlanta but spent summers and holidays in Porter Springs in the mountains of north Georgia. He graduated from North Fulton High School in the Buckhead section of Atlanta in 1952, and from Georgia Tech in 1956 with a degree in electrical engineering. While in college, he played trombone in the Georgia Tech marching band. One of his band highlights was playing in a Sugar Bowl game in New Orleans.

John entered the army after college. While stationed in Huntsville, Al., he met his wife, Geraldine (“Gerry”) Jones, during a church prison ministry. The two were married on February 22, 1958. After leaving the army, he worked as an electrical engineer for Lockheed Aircraft.

His shared desire with his wife was to be a missionary for Jesus. He left his engineering career for full-time ministry, graduating from Columbia Theological Seminary. His first pastorate began in 1964 at the Todd Memorial Presbyterian Church in Laurens, SC. He accepted a call to Haysi in 1967 to minister to the Presbyterian churches in Dickenson County. For nearly 53 years, John and Gerry served the Haysi, Bartlick, Sandlick, and Big Ridge churches and surrounding communities, sharing the love of Jesus in word and deed.

In addition to ministry, he did land surveying, and he taught math and physics at Haysi High School for 17 years and was one of the Bible Club sponsors. He ministered in the Haysi regional jail, including teaching GED classes there.

As their health declined, they moved to Birmingham, Al. to live with son Steve.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 62 years; daughter, Jerri Ann Whitner Henderson and son-in-law, Joey Henderson; and brother Joseph C. Whitner.

He is survived by his sister, Dorothy Whitner-Poole (Bob Poole) of Salida, Co.; sons John R. Whitner (Deana) of Haysi, VA, Rick Whitner (Vickie) of Blacksburg, and Steve Whitner (Tracy) of Birmingham, Al.; daughter-in-law, Becky Henderson of Waterloo, SC; grandchildren, Richard (Kim), Mandy (Jon), Candace, Faith (Michael), Stephanie, Carrie, Jerri (Blake), Michael (Kathy), Addison, Rachel, Ruth, Joseph, and Grace; great-grandchildren, Tori, Tyler, Tess, Llewyn, Mica, and Elizabeth.

A private viewing will be held at 10 a.m. on May 4 at Bradley’s Funeral Home in Marion. A family-only graveside service will follow at Round Hill Cemetery. Rev. Dan Donaldson will officiate.

A public Memorial Service will be held at Sandlick Presbyterian Church in Haysi on Friday, May 19. The family will receive visitors from 5-7 p.m. The service begins at 7 p.m., Rev. David Cummings presiding.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be sent to Bartlick Presbyterian Church, 586 Bartlick Road, Haysi, Va., 24256. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at

Bradley’s Funeral Home of Marion is serving the Whitner Family.