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Obituary: Alan Whitmee

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Alan Whitmee 1930-2015

March 11, 2015

Alan Whitmee, who died on March 4, was Principal of Kingaroy High School from 1972 until his retirement in May 1988.

He was also a member of the Kingaroy Lions Club and was involved in many organisations in the town, such as Red Cross, the Peanut Festival Committee, SkillShare, and the Red Shield Appeal, to name just a few.

His capacity to work tirelessly for the community was outstanding. He enjoyed his golf at Kingaroy Golf Club where he was a member for many years.

Alan was born in Proserpine in 1930, the only son of Arthur and Florence Whitmee. He had one sister.

His father was Head Teacher at Foxdale. He was then transferred to Habana, where Alan began his schooling. From there, the family moved to Malanda.

Alan had a carefree childhood in this farming community and developed lifelong friendships. He learned to swim in the Malanda Falls.

Arthur was then transferred to Maryborough as Principal of Albert State School where Alan completed his primary education.

Alan then went on to Maryborough Boys State High where he finished his schooling in 1947. He was awarded a Teacher’s Scholarship and moved to Brisbane to attend Kelvin Grove Training College in 1948.

From 1950, Alan was teaching in North Queensland schools such as McKinley, Topaz, Millaa Millaa, Bona Vista, Hughenden, Boogan, Townsville, Victoria Plantation, Winton, and Walkamin, always making more friends.

He moved to Brisbane in 1961, and taught at Bald Hills State School.

In 1962, he transferred to the High School section and taught at Commercial High, Kedron, The Gap and Aspley High …. Greg Norman’s reply to Al’s encouragement about his maths is now part of Aspley State High’s folklore (for those who don’t know, Alan strongly suggested that Greg Norman put more effort into his maths to which Greg Norman replied “Don’t worry, sir, I’ll have someone to do it for me.”)

In 1971, Alan took up the position as Principal at Goondiwindi High School.

1972 saw his appointment to his beloved “Kingaroy High”. In his time as Principal at Kingaroy, some 3000 students passed through the school.

He would have known all of them – he had an amazing ability to remember names.

At his retirement dinner, he pointed out that some students achieved great things, but he was proudest of the many, many students who have gone on to become good members of the community and raising good families, some of whom have children and grandchildren at the school now.

He married Annette in 1987 and after his retirement, they travelled extensively around the world and Australia. They moved to Brisbane in 1991.

In retirement, he was busier than ever. He helped in tree planting at the Bunyas, went fishing, played golf, and was involved in both the Jindalee and Bramble Bay Lions Clubs.

He helped to establish the Past Principals’ Association and, of course, organised reunions for various groups to which he had belonged over the years. He was active in 11 organisations when he first became ill at the end of 2010.

Alan kept in touch with people he had met through the years. He has close friends in England, America and all over Australia.

Many messages from past students were received by his family after his death:

“Mr Whitmee taught me in Grade 1 and he was the best teacher I ever had”

“Mr Whitmee stood by me when I was in Grade 2 when the kids teased me because my mother was schizophrenic”

“Mr Whitmee was the biggest influence in my life”

These are just some of the comments. It is truly an indication of his worth as a teacher that he inspired and helped so many students.

He also had a profound influence on his colleagues. Testament to this is the fact that Gene Wilkcoxson flew out from Colorado just to attend Alan’s funeral.

Alan’s funeral was held at St Andrew’s Anglican Church at Indooroopilly on Tuesday, March 10. Many family, friends, members of the teaching fraternity, Lions Clubs and carers attended.

Kingaroy High School was represented by the Principal Ashley Roediger, Deputy Principal Tracey Reinbott, and two vice captains, James Hunt and Eloise Mashford. Former Principal David Ballin also attended.

Alan was never critical, never judgmental, and never spoke badly of anyone.

He will be remembered as a true friend, a “good guy” a great educator and “one of a kind”.

He is survived by his wife Annette, his three stepchildren, Toni, Anna and Michael, and eight grandchildren.

Vale Alan.

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