Memorial services generally include crying and people keeping to themselves or talking to loved ones, but when David Whitney passed away, those in attendance did not stop talking about the man they all loved.
David Wayne Whitney Jr. was one flight away from finishing his private pilot license when he and Jamie Bennee crashed the plane they were piloting in Payson. He died at age 25.
Whitney had two great passions: his wife and flying.
He married his wife Angie in the Salt Lake Temple last December. Anyone that met him knew his love for his wife. They met in Monterrey, Mexico, when Whitney returned to the location of his LDS mission.
“He was so madly in love with Angie,” said his sister Camilla Whitney Bowles.
Eric Hayden, Whitney’s fellow aviation student, recalled one time when Whitney was talking to Angie in Spanish.
“He said nothing but ‘I love you’,” Hayden said. “It was at times disgusting, but at the same time it was cool, because he was head over heels for her.”
“If you needed anything he would be there in a second,” said Austin Bowles, his brother-in-law.
Whitney’s family lives in Medford, Oregon. He was the son of Susan and David Whitney, and the oldest of seven children which consisted of five younger sisters and a brother who has also passed away. Austin Bowles said he loved them all very much.
“He couldn’t be reckless because we would tattle on him,” Whitney Bowles said. “One time he knocked a hole in the wall, but he was nothing compared to what he could have been, he was really sweet.”
Whitney’s sister and her husband talked about how often he would call his younger sisters to talk and see how they were doing, something Whitney Bowles already misses.
Mark Messenger’s last memory of Whitney was sitting in an altitude chamber in Colorado. A group of students were sitting with oxygen masks on and Whitney took his off and sat there grinning.
“He was the funniest kid,” Messenger said. “Wonderful kid, nicest kid I’ve ever met.”
“Behind the scenes he was very funny,” Camilla Bowles said. “Most people didn’t know that, if you didn’t know him you would think he was quiet.”
While friends knew of his humor, one of Whitney’s favorite professors, Capt. Jim Green, talked about his hard work and overall dedication to becoming a pilot.
“He 100 percent wanted to be a pilot. He was very enthusiastic and went the extra mile. I had him in three of my classes and he sat in voluntarily in a fourth just to get extra prep. He was very smart, very brilliant,” Green said. “He was very respected by other students. He was not flamboyant, [but] very practical and very serious about his education. He was a man of character. He was one of my top students. He had respect and a desire.”
Whitney moved a lot growing up and he gained a passion for flying in Oklahoma. His father took him to air shows and he would sit in any cockpit he could get into.
“His passion for life came from flying,” Whitney Bowles said.
“There is not anything bad to say about him.” said Enoch Allred, a fellow aviation student.
“He just liked watching movies and eating pies,” Bowles said. “He was an all around good guy.”
Before he came to UVU to study aviation, Whitney spent two years at BYU.