Evans Whiting


Cullum No. 24298-1962 | May 6, 2012 | Died in Kailua, HI 

 Cremated. Inurned at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.


To say that Evans Kellogg ‘E.K.’ Whiting was an interesting, unusual, unique, one of a kind person and an “out of the box” thinker would be a gross understatement. From the moment he was born in Asheville, NC on September 8, 1938, until his death on May 6, 2012, his entire existence exemplified the meaning of those words.

His life picked up speed around age 10 when he learned to drive. At 13, he flew cross country with his father in a two seater plane with no radio. At 16, he graduated from high school, already having been employed as a bag boy, welder, machinist, truck driver, salesman, publisher, bill collector and butcher. While attending Davidson College in North Carolina, he ran his own pawnshop.

To ensure admission to West Point, he received two appointments. Because of E.K.’s willingness to push boundaries, he allegedly became a two century man at West Point, “walking the area” and amusing himself designing houses and creating projects such as a moneymaking scheme selling a plebe knowledge booklet for 25 cents.

“Never one to let academics stand in the way of his education, E.K. divided his free time between such activities as parachuting, steam tunneling, skin diving and dreaming up ideas, one of which resulted in a rather notable exception to an otherwise enviable record of outguessing the ‘T.D.’ His quick smile, southern charm and effortless manner of getting things accomplished will carry him far.” — ’62 Howitzer

Stories abound about E.K.’s adventuresome spirit, unconventional life style, clever problem solving and often time mind numbing, overly enthusiastic debates. Classmate Ed Hamilton shared the following: 

“We met at USMA Prep School at Fort Belvoir, VA. As two South Carolina boys, we bonded. In the spring of ’58, we took a weekend trip to the Carolinas in E.K.’s 1948 Jaguar sports car. Heading back, as we approached Durham, NC, E.K. pressed the brake pedal to discover the brakes were gone. It was impossible to find replacement brakes on Sunday in rural North Carolina, so we limped back to Fort Belvoir. To slow down we worked in tandem, E.K. down shifted, and I pumped the hand brake or dragged my right foot out the door, resulting in enormous holes in my sole.

“North of Richmond, E.K., to make up for lost time and to arrive before supper formation, was pulled over for speeding. Asked to follow the officer to the courthouse, the patrolman undoubtedly wondered why we followed at such great distance and took so long to stop. Arriving at the courthouse was most perilous—pulling beside the officer and stopping before hitting the courthouse’s brick wall! Never did he realize we had no brakes. We collected our ticket, headed back, arrived late and received our expected demerits.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but this incident was so typical of E.K., who loved to push the limits and always preferred living on the edge of disaster.”

After West Point, E.K.’s Air Force commission led him to Guam, Okinawa and Thailand, where he flew 89 B52 missions to Vietnam. Eventually his seven-year military career qualified him to become a Northwest Airlines pilot. While other pilots rested in a hotel room, E.K. actively sought adventures and unusual places. His travels took him to 134 countries on all seven continents, where, in keeping with his character, he found the unusual and brought those experiences home. He volunteered to photograph NASA launches on Bikini Atoll, drove an old truck from Reno to Prudhoe Bay, AK and swam with whales in Baja. In 1998, he retired as a 747 Captain after 30 years of experiencing the world.

He earned one of the first master of science degrees in experiential education with a thesis centered on creating an adventure consultant business. His “research” allowed him to explore winter camping in northern Minnesota, airplane camping at Lake Powell and canoeing in Wisconsin.

Having surveyed the world during his career, he created his dream home, two joined octagons perched on a steep hillside in Lanikai, HI, his “favorite place on earth.” He lived there happily for 17 years with Marianne, his wife and adventure companion of more than 24 years.

Every day he woke up with a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step, exclaiming, “I wonder what the day will bring” —and he meant it. He was always fit and loved to run, rollerblade, bike, swim, sail and windsurf. If you got up at 4:30 am, you could join him. If he asked you to hike with him, those in the know first would ask if it was uphill, downhill, icy, brushy, wet, muddy or rocky; were there climbing ropes, any rickety ladders and, most important, was there a trail at all? If he gave you a distance, you had to ask: one way or round trip? You never knew what you were getting into.

Energy, enthusiasm, effervescence and a zest for life were hallmarks of E.K.’s zany, creative humor, as were his mischievousness, boundless playfulness and gleeful spirit. Some described him as having youthful curiosity, others “irrational exuberance.” Yet everyone agreed he always thought outside the box, often to the chagrin and dismay of those around him.

His life was honored with a memorable service near Blowing Rock, NC at his family’s summer home. E.K. would have been pleased with the number of classmates in attendance.

What epitaph would appropriately summarize E.K.’s life? E.K. once wanted to be cremated and placed in a parking meter marked “time expired,” but family and friends can verify the final choice: “No Longer Outside The Box” best sums up his life…and his irreverent sense of humor.

— Marianne K. Whiting and friends


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