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Hilary Evans Whittaker

May 26, 1930 — January 10, 2021

Hilary Evans Whittaker

Hilary Evans Whittaker died quietly at Memorial Care Saddleback Medical Center on January 10, 2021.  Born on May 26, 1930, she was the eldest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Whittaker (Margaret Evans) of Detroit and Grosse Pointe, MI.  

She attended Liggett, Grosse Pointe Country Day, and the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY; then earned BA and MA degrees with distinction from Vassar College (1952) and Wayne State University (1955).  She directed early educational TV productions on Channel 56 and radio on WDET in Detroit, worked in advertising in NYC., directed American Red Cross recreation centers in Morocco and France, directed (Gov. George) Romney Volunteers in Michigan, was special events director for the Wayne County GOP, Detroit Millage Campaign Coordinator in 1963, Peace Corps training officer in India, Country Director in Togo, Sierra Leone and Mali in West Africa, Peace Corps headquarters Executive Officer in Washington D.C., branch director at Data Use and Access Laboratories in Rosslyn, VA, and an International Foundation for Elections Systems advisor helping developing nations write national constitutions, plan civic education programs, and set up democratic election systems. 

She attributed her adventurous career and her worldwide circle of friends to her parents’ encouragement to be all that she wanted to be, and to her liberal arts education at Vassar.

Her passions were the Peace Corps, Vassar College and as lead founder of The Bead Museum, Washington D.C., for ten years before she retired to Southern California.  There she expanded her hobby as a noted jewelry designer using globally collected beads, the oldest artifacts of mankind. 

Ms. Whittaker received an Action Federal Women’s Award and numerous professional commendations.  She was a president of the Detroit & Birmingham Vassar Club and Bead Society of Greater Washington, member of the Vassar College Alumnae Board, and founding president of the Bead Museum, Washington D.C. 

She is survived by her brother James Whittaker of Laguna Woods, CA, niece/god-daughter Margaret Whittaker of Washington D.C. and Mercersburg, PA, nieces Linda Bugaiski of Glennie, MI, and Victoria Valice of Northville, MI, nephew Charles Martin Hines III of Pittsburgh, PA, three grand nephews, a grandniece, a great grandniece, and god-daughter Elizabeth Lesesne Dixon of Ann Arbor, MI.  

Graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM on Saturday, October 23, 2021 in Fairmount Cemetery in Camden with Rev. Terri J. Thornton officiating.

She has asked that in lieu of flowers any desired memorial contributions be made to Hilary E. Whittaker, Class of 1952, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, for the Thompson Library Special Collections.

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Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Starts at 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

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