Lauren C. Whiting, 95 of Clarence Center, NY, passed away peacefully Saturday (January 25, 2020) at his residence while under care of Hospice.
Lauren was born in Downers Grove Illinois, February 9, 1924, a son of the late Theo and Laura Grey Whiting.
At the age of 16 the family moved to Akron New York. After attending Akron High School, Lauren joined the US Navy to serve in the war effort. He achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer as a motor mechanic aboard an LST and received several invasion battle ribbons from actions in the Pacific. After returning from service he got a job at the Buffalo Transit company. In 1952 he joined the family company.
In 1953 the Whiting family (Theo, Donald and Lauren) manufactured custom garage doors. An inquiry was made to determine if the company could produce a roll-up door for trucks. The industry was born and Whiting is now the premier manufacturer of roll-up doors for the transportation industry worldwide. Still a family owned enterprise headquartered in Akron New York (except for a brief period in the 1970’s as a subsidiary of the Apache Corporation) Whiting’s have expanded their product offerings to the construction and shipbuilding industries. Lauren served the company in many capacities and continued to make significant contributions until his retirement in 2018.
In 2000 Lauren pursued a dream of returning a WWII vintage LST to the United States as a floating museum in commemoration of his service in the Pacific theatre aboard one of the “Long Slow Targets”. He and 28 other septuagenarians found a retired LST 325 in Crete. This ship had been decommissioned by the Greek Navy after having also served the US Navy in the European theatre. The project included returning the aging ship to “sea-worthy” condition and sailed it to the port of Mobile Alabama in January of 2001. The voyage made national news when the US Coast Guard suggested that the voyage should not be made and warned of severe consequences if the ship made an un-authorized trip to the United States. The LST 325 has since been berthed in Evansville Indiana and makes annual voyages as the floating museum the “Gold Crew” envisioned.
Survivors include his children, Theo (Michael) Abraham of Kingston, NH, Steven C. (Delia) Tee of Barker NY, Robert (Phyllis) Whiting of Akron, NY, James C. (Christine) Tee of Medina, NY, Rodney (Luanne) Whiting of Lyndonville, NY, Nancy (Timothy) Girard of Clarence, NY and Alice (John) Worrall of Mount Wolf, PA. Sister, Laura Mattioli of Akron, NY. Twenty two grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren also survive.
He is predeceased by his wife of over 48 years, Alice Marie Whiting, who died August 18, 2012; Siblings, Donald Whiting, Theodore Whiting, William Whiting and Ruth Fisher, Virginia Bushammer and Theo Kronen.
Family and friends are cordially invited to share thoughts, condolences and fond memories on Wednesday (January 29th) from 3-7pm and Thursday (January 30th) from 3-7pm at the J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, LLC, 32 John St., Akron, NY. Services will be Friday, 11am at the Chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY. Interment will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the U.S.S. LST Ship Memorial, 840 LST Dr., Evansville, IN 47713; www.TheLSTMemoiral.org/donate or your local Habitat for Humanity organization. Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at: www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.
Arrangements were entrusted to the J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, LLC, 32 John St., Akron, NY 14001. Ronald Konieczny II, Director.