American Veteran 01

William (Bill) Lee Whitley

May 19, 1923 ~ March 31, 2021 (age 97)

Obituary Image


Mr. William “Bill” Lee Whitley was born in Kannapolis, NC on May 19, 1923. He was a son of the late W.H. Whitley, Sr. and Robbie Lee Walters Whitley. He attended the local Kannapolis schools, Davidson College, and Duke University.

In October of 1948, he married Johnette Padgett in the Duke University Chapel. Johnnette passed away  September 2, 2017. They had four children, William “Whit” L. Whitley Jr., the late Dr. John M. Whitley; David E. Whitley and wife Hope, and Jane L. Whitley; grandchildren, Elizabeth Whitley Carroll, Sarah Whitley Ciblak, Andrew Whitley, Alexandra Medley, Patrick Whitley, Anthony Antinucci, Madeleine Antinucci,  Arianna Antinucci, Evan Antinucci, Kendyl Denson, Kaisyn Denson, Alyson Hodgkin, Lori Whitcomb,  Kristi Huntsberger. Great grandchildren Ava, Eason and Reeves Hodgkin, Lyla Hope Medley, Ezra Antinucci, brother, W.H. Whitley, Jr. and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Whitley was a licensed funeral director and  C.E.O of Whitley’s Funeral Home in Kannapolis, NC. He began working at the funeral home at age 15 and worked his whole lifetime helping the families of Kannapolis and the surrounding areas during their most difficult times. He bought the business from his father in 1972. He was a loving father, grandfather and loved spending time with his family.

Bill has been active over the years in civic clubs, including President of the Kannapolis Merchants Association, President of the Kannapolis Lions Club, President of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, President and charter member of the Original Kannapolis Golf Club, Life member of the 459 Bomb Group WWII Association, Life member of the DAV Chapter 27 of Concord, NC, Life member of the American Legion Post 0115, Life member of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Life member of V.F.W. Poston-Perkins Post of Kannapolis, NC.

He is a charter member of the Iron Dukes Scholarship Foundation of Duke University, a member of the Duke Alumni Association, James B. Duke Society, and the Founders Society.

He is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Kannapolis. He is also a member of Allen-Graham Masonic Lodge of Kannapolis, the Scottish Rite of Charlotte, the Oasis Shrine Temple of Charlotte, and a member of the Cabarrus Shrine Club.

Bill was the Kannapolis Christmas Parade Chairman for over 20 years. He was instrumental in getting the A.L. Brown Football Stadium built.  He also was an avid golfer through the years and was a charter member of the Kannapolis Golf Club, now the Club at Irish Creek. Also, those who knew him best knew that Bill loved to eat. He was a fixture at many local restaurants in the area for many years.

Last but not least,  Bill Whitley served his country in WWII as an engineer gunner on a B-24 Bomber. He entered the US Army Air Corps in January of 1943 completing 35 missions with the 15th US Army Air Corps based in North Africa and Italy during WW II.  Some of his awards were: The Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, The European-African Middle Easter Service Medal with 6 bronze stars, Medal for Valor, and the Medal for Meritorious Service.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, April 3, 2021 at Whitley’s Funeral Home Chapel officiated by Rev. Mike Hubbard. Entombment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park with military honors. His family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Friday at Whitley’s.

For those with Covid concerns, his body will lie in state at Whitley’s Funeral Home on Friday, April 2, 2021 from 12:00 to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, April 3 from 9 to 1 PM for those who would like to pay their respects.

Bill and his family would love for people to donate to a charity of their choice for veterans. He loved his country and loved all that served and honored their country.

Online condolences may be left at



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William (Bill) Lee Whitley, please visit our floral store.


April 2, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Whitley's Funeral Home

Funeral Service
April 3, 2021

2:00 PM
Whitley's Funeral Home Chapel
1748 Dale Earnhardt Blvd.
Kannapolis, NC 28083


Carolina Memorial Park
601 Mt. Olivet Road
Kannapolis, NC 28083

Please note
If anyone has covid concerns, his body will lie in state from 12:00 to 5 PM on Friday and 9 to 1 on Saturday for those who wish to pay their respects
© 2021 Whitley's Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy