Charles David Whitman

May 19, 1938 ~ February 26, 2024

Charles “Charlie” David Whitman
May 19, 1938 – February 26, 2024

Charlie Whitman (85), also known as Dad, PawPaw, Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Sponsor, Sponsee, Professor and Captain passed away on February 26, 2024, after a brief battle with lung cancer. His family and friends were grateful he did not suffer and was able to talk with many of those he loved before he passed away. Charlie would say he had a good life and that was because he had many good people in his life. He was unique in just about every way possible and will be greatly missed.
Charlie was born on May 19, 1938, in Marksville, Louisiana, the fourth child of Winfield Carroll Whitman and Lillian Josephine Barbin. He was a smart, young man and excelled at school. He attended LaGrange Senior High School and was salutatorian of his class, he was salutatorian of his class. He graduated with from McNeese State University (MSU) with a BA Degree in Liberal Studies. He was active in his fraternity, Delta Theta Chi, with a claim to fame of “streaking” across the campus during rush and participating in the one and only panty raid in this history of MSU.
He lost his brother, Don, when they were both in their 20’s and that was an extremely hard time for him and his family. This shaped him as a person, and he thought differently of life as a result. Charlie was quick to share his feelings and thoughts for those in his life – a love you “sugar” – or a big hug – as he knew that this life is fleeting – or as his son Bill would say he was a zebra in a world of horses.
From 1961 to 1968, he served in the Army in various posts and finished as a Captain. He worked in finance and teaching during his tenure. His service allowed him to live in Orleans, France, Germany, and Korea and to travel extensively. It was during this time that he met Bette Jane Broderick who would later become his wife.
Charlie married Bette on December 31, 1966, and they settled down in Needham, Massachusetts. They were married almost 25 years and had four children, Mary Beth, Barbara Clare, William Charles and the caboose, Michael Patrick.
Early in their marriage, Charlie obtained his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Babson College and started working at Arthur Young and Company, CPAs in Boston. He obtained his CPA designation in 1970.
He decided the Big CPA life and cold winters in New England did not suit him, so Charlie and Bette and their two daughters packed up and moved to St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. It was a brief stint there as they realized that the only items that were cheap were rum and cigarettes and with a young family, they needed to have better prices for milk and meat. It was at this time in 1973, that they decided to move back to the states and Lake Charles, Louisiana where he still lived at his passing.
In 1973, he started working at McNeese State University as a professor of accounting. It was here that he spent most of his career – 27 years – teaching thousands of students – accounting principles, cost accounting and tax, mainly. Ironically, daughter, Mary Beth, is now an accounting professor with 22 years of teaching accounting at The University of Texas at Dallas. Charlie taught two of his children. Both Bill and Mary Beth are proud to say they made A’s in his class as most people thought Mr. Whitman was a super hard instructor. In addition to him, his two daughters earned undergraduate degrees and Bette earned a Masters degree from McNeese State University.
In the late 70’s, Charlie became part of a 12-step program, which allowed him to live his life more authentically and fully. He found a community there when he realized he hit rock bottom. Unlike others that may have done a rehab program and then eased into sobriety, he did it cold turkey. His family is forever grateful for AA and NA that allowed Charlie to live the best life he could. Those that knew him in recovery knew he had great advice and stories to share in meetings. He helped hundreds in their recovery and in the process helped himself. His clean date was November 1, 1991.
His children remember fondly his AA days when he would deliver “tough love”. Especially as his children were in their teens – they would hear numerous sayings – MYOB (mind your own business), take your own inventory, one day at a time, easy does it and more!
Charlie loved without boundaries. He was a simple man who did not enjoy material things. Those who knew and loved him, knew he could talk and never let truth get in the way of a good story. He was loving and caring to all he met and was known as someone that would give anything to help you – the shirt off his back, a couch to sleep on, advice – whether solicited or unsolicited, a lift in the car on a 100-degree day when he saw you on the side of the road. He was particularly loving to those down on their luck and passionate about helping those that were willing to help themselves to get clean.
The only thing that he loved more than people was food – Steamboat Bill’s, Pat’s of Henderson, Popeye’s, Darryl’s, Tony’s Pizza, Wok D’Lite and more – it didn’t matter the restaurant – he knew the best thing to order and was always strategizing his next meal. It is possible that he himself may have invented the word “hangry”. Charlie was a great cook, and his family remembers many years of Thanksgiving gumbos at his house. He loved to entertain and play cards with his friends.
He had a complicated relationship with organized religion but found peace with the higher power of his understanding. On a trip to Yosemite with his son, Bill, he saw the beauty in the world and came to an understanding with God or his “burning bush” in that moment. He considered himself spiritual, but not religious.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father and sisters Gretchen Bonnin, Mary Marjorie (Tootsie) Stinson, and brother Don Whitman as well as his grandson, Christopher James Whitman.
Left to carry his memory are his children and grandchildren, Mary Beth (Jeff) Whitman Goodrich, Barbara (Henry) Whitman Padron, Bill Whitman, Mike (Ted Clarkson) Whitman and Cowboy Rose Whitman and grandchildren, Grant, Connor, Joshua, Ally, Coby, Dillan, Matthew, and Sara. Also, to carry on his memory are his many extended family members and friends. There are numerous friends from recovery that will remember Charlie fondly – particularly those from the Freedom Group and Agape.
His interment (burial) will be at the Southwest VA Jennings Cemetery (1610 Evangeline Road, Jennings, LA 70546) on Friday, March 1, 2024 at 11:00am and his Celebration of Life will be held at the McNeese Burton Business Center (450 Lawton Dr. 70605) Room 153 on Saturday, March 2, 2024 with a come and go from 2:00pm – 3:00pm and the Celebration and sharing by all that knew and loved him starting at 3:00pm (much like an NA / AA style round table).
Charlie would have shared with the younger generation to work hard to get what you want in life and treat people the way you would want to be treated. Don’t worry about yesterday as there is nothing you can do about that and don’t worry about the future. Live one day at a time. Live just for today which is the motto of NA.
A prayer that was near and dear to Charlie’s heart is the 3rd Step Prayer “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy live and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.”
In lieu of flowers, an endowment fund has been set up at McNeese in his honor.
Checks can be made payable to the “McNeese Foundation” and mailed to:
McNeese Foundation, Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA 70609,
Write “In memory of Charlie Whitman and/or Charlie Whitman Fund” in the memo line.
Online – go to Complete the form. Select “Other” and then type “Charlie Whitman Fund” in the Specific Area or Scholarship you wish to support field.
In closing, his children would like to share a prayer that was near and dear to our family as we remember our father:
“God grant me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”


Graveside Service: Friday, March 1, 2024
11:00 am

Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery
1620 Evangeline Road
Jennings, LA 70546

Gathering of Family & Friends: Saturday, March 2, 2024
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

McNeese Burton Business Center
450 Lawton Dr.
Lake Charles, LA 70605

Room: #153

Celebration of Life: Saturday, March 2, 2024
3:00 pm

McNeese Burton Business Center
450 Lawton Dr.
Lake Charles, LA 70605

Room: #153

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  1. Candle 2Charlie and I bonded over the realization that we were both New England Patriot fans! He has taught me so much about how to recover, how to live again and I am forever grateful for that. You will be missed!!!! Love you

  2. Charlie was my first accounting teacher at McNeese. He was a great teacher who made sure students thoroughly understood. I am part of the accounting faculty at Lamar University and hope to be the kind of teacher he was.

  3. Charlie, thanks for all the time and interest you took in me. You contributed a great deal of stability to my life at a time when I was rebuilding. Thanks for being there for me. Appreciate you sharing your family with me.

    I remember you were once concerned about how hard I was working suggesting I had become a “work addict.” Well it was true. I became addicted to service, production and becoming the best version of myself. Rebuilding myself beyond a recovered drug addict to a contributing valuable member of society. You compelled and inspired me to do so by your concern for me. Thanks for being my teacher & my landlord and my sponsor and my friend. Thanks for being a man of service. Thanks for being an inspiration to me. I’ll see you again!

    Grant Cardone

  4. My Charlie, thank you for inviting me over to your home. We had the best of times. I am so GRATEFUL you have been a part of my maturation and what beautiful funny stories you would tell. I will ALWAYS have you with me. Your death is teaching me more about living. I love you and see you later.😘🙏🏾🎁

  5. I can always remember you saying it’s hard to be hateful when you’re grateful. And make a gratitude list. I thank you for accepting me just as I am and making me feel worthy. You gave me hope that I could live a life worth living. You will be missed by many and always remembered. Love you!

  6. Mr. Whitman was my 1st accounting instructor then later he became, my friend Charlie. Charlie always greeted me with a smile and engaged in genuine conversation whether in the halls of the BBC, in the stands at a football game or some random place in town. It was always a pleasure to catch up with my friend Charlie. It is nice to see he impacted so many lives in a positive manner. Peace.

  7. Charlie was loved by the guys and gals at LaGrange Senior High School. He was gregarious and had an opinion on just about everything. I wasn’t a close friend of his, but when I would see him occasionally over many years, he would always make a special point to sincerely thank me for marrying his girlfriend, Faye Roper. Some of you will know the very twisted, yet very funny humor in that.

  8. Candle 1Condolences and prayers to family and friends as you both mourn in your significant loss and reflect on Charlie’s life. May you find joy and comfort in one another and your loving and fond memories!

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