Tommy Ray Wilhite was born May 18, 1944 at home on the Wilhite land in Lexington, OK. He was the youngest child of Fannie Mae McNutt Wilhite and T.L. Wilhite. Tom had an older brother – K.D. Wilhite – and an older sister, Saundra Lynette Ferguson.
Tom attended Lexington Schools and joined the U.S. Air Force upon graduation in 1963. That same year, he married his high school sweetheart, Donna Lynn Odom Wilhite. They were stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, four of the thirteen years that they lived in Bossier City. During his military service, Tom served in the Flag Ceremony for numerous funerals. After his military duty was completed in 1967, he was employed by the U.S. Army Recruiting Office and Veteran’s Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.
One son, Jeffrey Mark Wilhite, was born while Tom was still in Louisiana. In 1976, Tom and family returned to Oklahoma and have lived in Norman these past 44 years. A second son, Jonathan Richard Wilhite, was born in Norman, in 1980.
In 2000, after almost thirty-eight years of Federal service, Tom retired. This began a time of travel and relaxation for Tom and Donna as they began to take trips across the country, enjoying their retirement. They toured wine country in California, took cruises to the Bahamas (having to hide from a hurricane), and explored the Deep South.
Tom loved to laugh. He loved to tell jokes and dance and sing. With his booming laugh and frequent loud claps, he was the life of the party. He and Donna enjoyed going to the OU Football games, and spending time with the family, especially his grandchildren. He adored little dogs and raised and bred Shih Tzus, including his favorites Peppermint and Ruffles. He loved musical theater and movies, especially Wizard of Oz and Gone and the Wind. Tom enjoyed the outdoors, particularly riding his bike and gardening around the house. He was never prouder than when his Burnt Oak house won yard of the month in April 1985.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Lafayette Wilhite Jr., and his mother, Fannie Mae McNutt-Wilhite-Waddle.
Tom passed on December 29, 2020, at the age of 76, from a combination of Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.
Flowers may be sent to Havenbrook Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Norman Animal Welfare, in honor of Tom’s love of animals.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Tommy Ray Wilhite, please visit our floral store.