David Whiting

Graveside Service

10:00 am - 10:30 am
Saturday, May 4, 2024
Pleasant Hill Cemetery
85 Pleasant Hill Road
Chester, New Jersey, United States
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Obituary of David E. Whiting

David Edgar Whiting, Chatham Business Owner, longtime Florham Park resident

David Edgar Whiting, born in West Orange, New Jersey and a resident of Florham Park from 1970 to 2000 before retiring in Forked River, passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 85 on May 1.

He was the proud business owner of Dependable Parts in Chatham from the 1960’s-2000 and of 168 Main Street.

Dave discovered Chatham, New Jersey not from a map, a job, or a drive from the neighboring county, but from a guy he met on the Citizens Band Radio. 

Dave, a 1956 graduate of Bloomfield Technical School trained in electronics, held one of only seven licenses in the state of New Jersey, a requirement to be on the radio band. A skilled technician always ahead of technology trends, he was keen for adventure. 

In pursuit of the best radio signal, Dave would take to the Mountain peak in West Orange, where he could participate in what he called a “gossip circle” of guys on the radio. Here he met a fellow enthusiast who invited Dave to visit him at Dependable Parts, where he worked part-time in his hometown of Chatham. 

After bouncing around various technical and appliance jobs in the Oranges, Dave described coming to Chatham as “finding God’s country where people paid their bills for your work,” unlike his early experiences in Orange. Eventually, Dave bought Dependable Parts from the owner who was keen to be in the budding technology business but needed someone with the right skills and acumen to help the company succeed. Dave thrived with the times, becoming a sought-after Zenith authorized dealer.

Over the years at Dependable Parts, Dave worked side by side with his beloved co-workers Chris Ahlers and Steve Fetherston. He also enjoyed working with a few local students who he hired as part-time employees and kept as lifelong friends. 

Dave knew the Chatham towns along with neighboring Madison and Summit like the back of his hand. After nearly 30 years of installing countless TV antennas on roofs and servicing an impressive amount of TVs and electronics, he was familiar with most of the homes and families in the area. He loved his customers and enjoyed meeting and helping a great number of people in the community. 
Dave loved Chatham and proudly supported the Best Little Luncheonette and the Chatham Sub Shop for his daily lunch walks. He was a member of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce and could be found most Tuesday evenings at Charlie’s Aunt. He also loved being a landlord of 168 Main Street where he and Peg Whiting were owners from 1975 to 2023.

In addition to all things electronic, Dave was also skilled and equally passionate about motors. He took great pleasure in his impressive car collection. For many years, he could be spotted driving in Chatham’s Fourth of July parade in his baby blue 1954 Kaiser Darren or 1959 T-bird convertible. He was also known to take a spin around town while restraining the V12 265 Hp engine that bolted from 0-80 in seconds in his 1963 Jaguar E-Type coupe roadster. His garage swelled with many motorcycles, including his favorite lawn mowing tractor and a go-kart he crafted from a lawnmower engine and plywood, for his children (and sometimes himself) to enjoy in the woods behind his house. 

Dave was not only an adventurer and Thrill seeker, In addition to working and spending time on his many projects, Dave was a very quiet organizer and protagonist of fun. He was the ringleader for a bi-annual father-son dirt biking weekend at the “coal pile” mountains in Scranton, PA. Trucks, vans, and trailers would leave his driveway on a Friday, returning at the end of the weekend covered in dirt, carrying smiling fathers and sons with stories to tell. Many memories and legends came from these weekends, and invitations were highly coveted. A family friend who joined for every trip shared this memory:

I always remember feeling so comfortable wherever we were, as long as your Dad was there! There was never any concern about getting lost or having some kind of breakdown. As long as Uncle Dave was around things were always ok!

Always plotting the next adventure from his reclining chair, Dave also planned various canoe, rafting, and tubing excursions along the Delaware Water Gap along with annual winter ski trips with family and friends. He never missed an opportunity for a summer picnic, which always included his favorite group game, Pie face.  

Dave also took his toys on the water. In the 60’s he bought a very old motorboat with a 35 Hp Evinrude engine from his friend and fellow technical enthusiast, Jay Fisher. This white and robin’s egg blue boat had many Jersey adventures before it went to Wisconsin to reside in a barn. It would come out to play during the annual family holiday week on Lake Ripley, Wisconsin. Dave would spend half the vacation repairing the boat and the other half doing endless loops around the lake so that everyone got a turn water skiing and tubing.  

In 1993 his garage swelled once again when he added the Harley Davidson Electra Glide cruiser to his collection. This next chapter saw Dave organizing many local rides enjoyed with his son Brian. He also went on several cross-country adventures with friends and family to visit his other son, Brett, out west.  

Dave passed along many of his best attributes, skills, and talents to his three children. Brian was gifted with David’s technical and mechanical acumen and passion for projects. Brett was graced with Dave’s “man of the people” spirit, open-heart, and generosity with creating connections and planning gatherings. And Gwen received Dave’s creative problem-solving skills and passion for creating and building a business. 

Dave was a steadfast rock, dedicated to his children. From assisting Brian with his childhood recycling collection to driving him for midnight practice at the Ice Hockey Rink, Dave was blessed to have a son who was his best friend, sharing passions for projects together.  

Dave and Brett enjoyed many father-son activities including years of cross-country adventures, sharing invaluable experiences and moments as they traveled the US. 

Dave was always happy to be the driver for Gwen and her friends throughout high school, college, New York City, and beyond. While he enjoyed getting everyone home safely and was always up for a drive, he also loved as a friend of Gwen wrote this week, “having a front row seat to the fun.” 

In the 80’s, Dave spent endless hours behind the very first and giant!) Betamax Video Recorder, capturing hours of video footage of Gwen and her teammates competing in the Madison Rosettes YMCA Gymnastics meets.

While Dave loved to mentor and care for his children and extended brood, he was known to look the other way when he knew they were up to mischief, sometimes joining them in a crank or caper.

In his small suburban circles, Dave was always perfectly placed to be there for many young neighbors and locals who needed safe adult support. Dave’s unique, kind way made him special. He was very proud and privileged to be a role model, mentor, friend, and father figure for a few key people in his life, including Bill Howell and John Duetsch. Even a toddler neighbor would come to the backyard to see if Mr. Whiting could play, as he enjoyed Dave’s life-sized toys.

Dave and Peg shared 30 years together filled with family, friends and fun.  Many wonderful years, Sunday luncheons, holidays and weekly visits with Dave’s mom Olive and brother Charles.  Years of holidays, vacations, and special events with Peg’s parents Bob and Winnie, Peg’s sister Cindy and her husband Jud, and his nieces Betsy and Susan.  In addition, they enjoyed spending time together with many life-long friends.

Dave spent his retired years dedicated to the Lacey County Ambulance Squad and enjoyed volunteering on many charity motorcycle events. 

Dave served in the U.S. National Army Reserves as a cook and fondly recounted the camaraderie with the guys and especially his time talking to everyone and making mash potatoes in the mess hall. 

Dave truly embodied the spirit of living life to the fullest.  He loved what he did and the people he did it with.  A month ago, the hospice chaplain asked Dave if there was anything left on his bucket list or if there was anything he didn’t get to do, to which Dave responded peacefully, “no, I’m good.’ 

Dave is survived by Margaret Taber Whiting of Florham Park, son David Brian Whiting of Florham Park (mother Judy Whiting of Madison), son Brett Taber Whiting, daughter-in-law Elieen Whiting, and granddaughter Sage Marie Whiting, of Bloomington, MN, and daughter Gwen Laura Whiting and son-in-law James Jordan Dale of Bridgehampton and New York City, NY.

Charitable contributions may be made in Dave's memory to the Lacey Township EMS, P.O. Box 289, Forked River, NJ 08731.

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