Legendary Early Peace Corps Trainer Is Remembered by His Volunteers

[Ken Hill ( Turkey 1965-67) later joined the Peace Corps staff in Washington.  In 2001 he was Chief of Staff at Peace Corps Headquarters before which he was Chief of Operations for Europe and Asia after serving as Country Director in the Russian Far East, Bulgaria and Macedonia.  He was also Chairman of the Board of the National Peace Corps Association for three years. Ken was kind enough to send me his remembrance of  Bill Whitman that I am pleased to publish for the Peace Corps Community.]

Our colleague and friend, Willard “Bill” Whitman passed away on December 19 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. Bill was 95 and suffered from heart ailments.  He is survived by Doris Clark Whitman, his wife of 67 years and his two daughters, Jean Heimer, and Doreen McGill; a sister; and five grandchildren.

Many of us will remember Bill as the director of training for PCV English Teachers at Robert College in 1964 and subsequently of Turkey-9, the CD program which trained at Yalincak village on the campus of the new Middle East Technical University outside Ankara. This was one of the initial Peace Corps experiments at “in-country” training of its new volunteers.  It proved to be a unique and valuable experience for the Trainees, Turkish staff and American staff.  Peace Corps Volunteers then serving in Turkey were involved in the training activities which proved particularly valuable!

Bill was later named Deputy Director of Peace Corps in Turkey. In 1966 he moved to Pakistan with Peace Corps and was subsequently made Peace Corps Director in Libya.

Willard Mallalieu Whitman Jr. was born in Lynn , Mass. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard University in 1939 and a master’s degree in English literature and Shakespeare studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1947.  Beginning in the late 1930s, he taught English at Robert College of Istanbul.

In World War II, he joined the British Royal Air Force and served as a flying instructor in Africa.  He returned to Robert College after the war and became a vice president in 1956. In 1960, he moved back to the United States and taught English at Bennett College in Millbrook , N.Y.  After his work with Peace Corps in Turkey, he was named Peace Corps Director of programs in Pakistan and Libya .

Bill and Doris founded Whitman Associates in 1969, a Washington-based staffing agency. He retired in 1983.  Bill and Doris remained active in “Friends of Turkey” activities in the Washington area.

Peace Corps alumnae regard Bill and Doris with deep affection and great respect.  Bill will be missed!  A memorial is planned for the Spring.

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