Rebecca Lee (Brown) Whitmore, Ph.D., 80, passed away peacefully May 5, 2021, at home surrounded by loving family after a sudden illness with cancer. Born September 17, 1940, to Gordon and Alma Brown, Rebecca, known as Becky to those who loved her, graduated from Ben Davis High School in 1958 before continuing her education at Butler University and Indiana University where she went on to achieve a Ph.D. in Educational Curriculum. While pursuing her education, Becky married the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Whitmore, in 1959. In her later years, Becky would often comment that the loving dedication she and Bob had to help each other achieve their educational goals was the reason she was able to obtain her Ph.D.—a true testament to the 57-year marriage she shared with Bob until his passing in 2017. Following her undergraduate degree, Becky became a lifelong educator, completing a 32-year teaching career in the Wayne Township School System in Marion County. Becky finished her career at Ben Davis High School where she retired in 1997.
Upon retiring from teaching, Becky and Bob moved to Parke County to establish a shade plant nursery called Dogwood Farm which featured display gardens that drew visitors and garden groups from Indiana and surrounding states. In 1997 Becky and Bob’s Dogwood Farm gardens were featured in a front-page article of the Terre Haute Tribune Star and later in a 2004 book by Betty Earl entitled IN SEARCH OF GREAT PLANTS. Becky became an active leader in the Indianapolis Hosta Society, working in conjunction with Bob to serve as active members of the Great Lakes Region Board of the American Hosta Society. Becky and Bob helped establish and expand a yearly conference for Midwest gardeners called Hosta College. This annual event continues to this day in Piqua, Ohio, each spring.
Following the close of Dogwood Farm in the late 2000s, Becky turned her efforts to more civic-minded endeavors. Armed with her sharp intellect and belief for social equality, Becky became an active volunteer in the Parke County Democrats working on the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential campaign—an effort she was immensely proud of until her death. Until the 2020 global pandemic, Becky remained civically active and engaged working to register voters, volunteer, and fundraise for issues she believed in.
Mrs. Whitmore is preceded by her loving husband of 57 years, Robert Whitmore; and is survived by her sons, Steven Michael, David Lee, and Michael Gonzalez; her granddaughters Erin Nicole Williams and Taylor Gonzalez; three grandsons, Jonathan Evans Whitmore, Andrew David Whitmore and Alex Gonzalez, and one brother Michael A. Brown. Per Becky’s request, a small, immediate family celebration of life will occur on the afternoon of June 12, 2021, at the Mann-Turman cemetery near Graysville, Indiana.
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