Claude O. Whitaker, 54, of North Fairfield, Ohio, walked up the “stairway to heaven” on May 15, 2023. Born on April 18, 1969, in Willard, Ohio, to the late Danny Whitaker and late Wanda (Howard) Whitaker, he was a New London High School and EHOVE Graduate, where he studied the auto mechanic trade.
Claude, named after his uncle, killed in Vietnam, was a daredevil who loved his toys, among them were often motorcycles, 4 wheelers, and dirt bikes. In 2021, he was diagnosed with cancer, an illness he faced with the same fearless attitude he applied to all of his boyhood stunts, with the approach that he would go for it, and no matter what…would be okay. Described as someone with the “best heart”, a “good dude” and a “friend to many”, Claude was a pleaser, with a great smile, and gentle nature that endeared him to everyone he met, including his oncology nurses. He had a talent for finding Native American artifacts and his love for motorcycles took him to Bike Week in Ohio, and also Daytona.
Along with Claude’s courage and gentleness, he was an extremely hard worker, who was proud of what he did. He was a talented millwright who began his career with Fishbaugh Construction, and later worked for RWW Masonry Inc., Ohio Farm Systems, and Custom Agri Systems. In 2005, he found his home at Centerra Co-Op, a company he loved and who stood by him until the very end.
Survivors include his sister, Tracey (Kyle) Marett of New London, and brother, Dan (Jess Kipp) Whitaker, of New London; stepbrothers, Rob (Lynn) Detterman, Brian Detterman, Cory Detterman, and Kurt (Maria) Detterman; nieces, Breanne, Katie, and Abby; stepmother, Regina Whitaker; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and lifelong friends; and longtime companion, Veronica “Bonnie” Eastman.
He was also preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Willie Whitaker, Ruth and Virgil Oney, as well as his maternal grandparents, Woodrow and Rebecca Howard.
A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, June 3, 2023, at Eastman Funeral Home, 200 W. Main St., New London, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. (noon). A service will be held at noon at the funeral home. Visitors are encouraged to leave their dress clothes at home, and respectfully and appropriately, dress casually and comfortably. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Hospice of the Western Reserve (formerly Stein Hospice), 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, Ohio 44870. Online expressions of sympathy may be made by visiting: www.eastmanfuneralhome.com. Eastman Funeral Home is honored to assist the family with Claude’s care and arrangements.
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