Whitney, Christopher J., MD

Christopher John Whitney, MD passed away peacefully in the presence of his wife and son at Christiana Hospital on January 20, 2023. He was born in Brooklyn, NY to Lesley W Whitney, MD and Joan Davidson Whitney who both predeceased him. The family moved from Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE, with a short time in Opa-locka, FL before settling back in Wilmington. It was in Wilmington that Chris would make life-long friends and practice surgery with his father.

Chris graduated from Wilmington Friends School in 1964 and maintained his friendship with many of his classmates over the years, always attending Homecoming and the rivalry football games. It was with great pride that he saw his son graduate from Wilmington Friend School in 2012. Chris would go on to graduate from Bucknell University in 1968. While there, he was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and again established lasting friendships. He gathered for a 50th reunion with his fraternity brothers on Hilton Head Island and found that time did not dim the memories.

After college, Chris served in the Army, stationed in Thailand. He fell in love with the country, its people, and the language, learning Thai to near fluency and retaining it through much of his life. He was honorably discharged in 1971. Chris went on to pursue his master’s degree in Biology from the University of Delaware, where he was a laboratory teaching assistant and a published researcher.

Chris’ life-long passion was to become a surgeon. During high school he was an orderly at the Delaware Hospital, now known as Wilmington Hospital. He attended Temple University Medical School (The Lewis Katz School of Medicine) from 1975 – 1979. To celebrate their graduation, Chris and his study group found their way to the Whitney family lake house on Lake George in Huletts Landing, NY, filling it to the brim and creating many fond memories. Chris did his residency in General Surgery at Temple University Hospital, and in 1984, returned to Wilmington to join his father in their surgical practice, specializing in the treatment and management of breast cancer. The approach Chris took in the care of his patients was one of genuine compassion and dedication to help them manage their individual treatment needs. He was a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and was focused on continual learning and teaching others. He was a member of the Surgical Education Committee at ChristianaCare. His love of teaching surgical residents was evident as he enthusiastically participated in treks to the anatomy lab in Baltimore. He also participated in presenting the resident mock oral examinations. He relished the annual opportunity to interview surgical residency candidates, getting to know each candidate and to carefully assess who would be the best for the surgical residency program. Chris retired from active surgical practice in 2015 but continued to be active in multi-disciplinary care conferences for several years.

Chris’ service extended to a position on the Board of Camp Tockwogh, and fund raising for the Strong Kids program. He was also a participant in the Faculty Circle fundraising for Wilmington Friends School and a member of True Blue for Friends.

Chris enjoyed the outdoors, fly fishing, sailing, skiing, gardening, gourmet cooking, languages (Thai, Italian, and French), show tunes, and a little golf. Some of his favorite vacation spots were The Tyler Place and Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Steamboat Springs, Outer Banks, Long Beach Island, and of course his beloved Lake George.

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca, and son, Christopher ( Tori Ferrara ), his siblings, Jennifer Farver (Jeffrey), Jonathan Whitney, Heather Whitney Price, Holly Whitney, his nephew Jeremy Farver and nieces, Jill Smith (Grant), Jessica Finnigan (Connor) and Matilda Whitney Bartholomew (Christian). He was predeceased by his brother, Timothy Whitney. Chris’ wry sense of humor and enthusiastic love of music will be missed by all.

“I am the master of my fate , I am the captain of my soul “ ( Invictus )

Memorial services will be held at Wilmington Friends School, 20 Granite Road, Wilmington, DE 19803, Lower School Meeting Room on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at 1:00pm. A spring internment at Horsham Friends Meeting will be held with a date yet to be determined.

Contributions in Chris’ memory can be made to YMCA Camp Tockwogh,24370 Still Pond Neck Road, Worton, MD 21678, The University of Delaware, designated for the Biology Department, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 83 E. Main Street, Newark, DE 19716; or Wilmington Friends School, 101 School Road, Wilmington, DE 19803.

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