Whitney, Wheelock Wheelock Whitney died peacefully on May 20 at his home in Independence, MN. He was 89. Wheelock was a unique individual whose interests were both broad and deep. He was a devoted family man, a man of sport, business, philanthropy, politics and civic engagement. He was also a man of deep faith who was very active in his church. The son of Wheelock and Katharine Whitney, Wheelock spent his childhood in St. Cloud, MN. Upon graduating from Phillips Academy in 1944 he enlisted in the Navy. Upon completion of his service, he attended Yale University, Class of 1950. Wheelock was the CEO of J.M. Dain & Company from 1963 until 1972 when he retired. Under his leadership Dain expanded from a relatively small business to one of the largest regional firms in the country. During his tenure as CEO he was elected president of the Investment Bankers Association of America and named Investment Banker of the Year by Finance magazine. Upon retirement from Dain, Wheelock immersed himself in organizations and causes that promoted health and well-being. With his first wife Irene, whose struggle with alcoholism had shown him firsthand the devastating effects of addiction, he co-founded the Johnson Institute, which was a pioneer and national model in the treatment of chemical dependency. From 1983 to 1986 he served as chairman of the National Council on Alcoholism. He also created the Minnesota Council on Health (motto: "Our goal is to help you die youngas late in life as possible") which promoted prevention of disease as the first step to wellness. Among the other organizations of which he was an active board member were the Minnesota Council on AIDS, InnerCity Tennis, and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Education was another of Wheelock's many interests. From 1973 to 1984 he taught a popular course on management at the University of Minnesota. He was also very involved in Minneapolis Community and Technical College where in 2003 the library was named Wheelock Whitney Hall in his honor. Wheelock often described himself as a "political junkie". A lifelong Republican, he was consistently moderate, even progressive on social issues and conservative on fiscal ones. Wheelock was mayor of Wayzata (1963-68). He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and for governor in 1982. Until his death he stayed involved with issues, candidates and elected officials. One of his greatest joys was helping to lead the efforts in 2012 to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage between same-sex couples. The fact that Minnesota was the first state in the nation to defeat such an amendment was a source of great pride. Next to family and friends, Wheelock's greatest passion was sports. He played them, he watched them, he lived and breathed them. He was a competitive tennis player and golfer. Wheelock played golf all over the world, but his favorite course was the Augusta National Golf Club. Last month he and his wife Kathleen Blatz, who was the Chief Justice of the MN Supreme Court when they married in 2005, went to Augusta to toast his 50 years of membership--an accomplishment that was warmly applauded by members and guests alike. Perhaps the sport that Wheelock played best was squash. With his partner Dick Moses he won the national doubles squash championship, over-sixty division, in 1993. Wheelock also loved horses. He was an avid riderjust retiring his saddle last year--and was a member of the Jockey Club. He owned and raced thoroughbred horses for the last 55 years. Professional sports were a major part of Wheelock's life. He played a pivotal role in bringing major league baseball to Minnesota in 1960, when he spearheaded the efforts to persuade Calvin Griffith, the owner of the Washington Senators, to move the team to the Twin Cities. He served on the board of the Twins for 24 years. Five years later Wheelock helped bring major league hockey to Minnesota as one of the eight original owners of the Minnesota North Stars, an NHL expansion team. His last involvement with professional sports in Minnesota was as part owner of the Minnesota Vikings, which he bought into in 1987, serving for two years as president of the organization. Wheelock was a devoted family man who brought his family together, traveled with them, and stayed involved until the very end. He was also a connector. He valued his friends and he stayed in touch through visits, Christmas cards, photographs, well-timed notes or calls. He was fun. He was wise. Most of all, he cared deeply about people and making this world a better place. Wheelock is survived by his wife Kathleen Blatz; children Wheelock III (Sandro Cagnin); Pennell (Edward Cremo); Joseph (Desiree); Ben (Mary); stepsons Hunter, Carter and Max Berkelman; grandchildren Rebecca, Sky (Monique), Galen and Stephen Ballentine; Alexander, Laura, Elizabeth, Victoria, Lock, David and Cope Whitney; stepgrandsons Nick and Alex Heller; great-granddaughters Ceceilia and Matilda Ballentine and Lennon Whitney LaMond; and by his sister Sally Pillsbury. He was preceded in death by wife Irene Hixon Whitney and his brother J. Kimball Whitney. Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday June 11 at Wayzata Community Church; 125 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wayzata Community Church; Minneapolis Community and Technical College Foundation/W. Whitney Scholarship Fund; or Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. David Lee Funeral Home Wayzata 952-473-5577 davidleefuneralhome.com

Published on June 5, 2016

Guest Book

Star Tribune reviews all guest book entries to ensure appropriate content.

Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling. FAQ