James W. Whitehead, Sr.
Deacon James William Whitehead, Sr., one of nine children, was born July 20, 1930 to the late Linwood L. Whitehead, Sr. and Rosa Ann Sharp Whitehead in Southampton County, Virginia. He transitioned this life on Wednesday November 23, 2011 at the Maryview Medical Center. In 1944, Deacon Whitehead moved with his family from Southampton County to Portsmouth, Virginia. He attended I. C. Norcon High School and later completed his General Equivalency Diploma (GED). He also completed a vocational field of study focusing on tailoring, at what was then the Norfolk division of Virginia State College (Norfolk State University). On April 24, 1951, Deacon Whitehead married the late Deaconess Geraldine Jenkins Whitehead. There were seven children born to this union of over 41 years. He worked as a shipwright at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for over 38 years and retired in 1989 as a Foreman. Deacon Whitehead entered the United States Army on Janurary 29, 1953 and served on active duty until December 23, 1954. He was then honorably discharged from the United States Army Reserve in September 1961 at the rank of Sergeant First Class. In 1961, Deacon Whitehead joined New Bethel Baptist Church where he served as an usher, a trustee, and was ordained as a deacon on Sunday, April 30, 1989. On September 15, 1960, Deacon Whitehead became a charter member of King Edward Masonic Lodge #26, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons. He became a 32 degree mason and was crowned the Grand Inspector General of the 33 degree and the last degree in 1974. In 1976, he was selected the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the State of Virginia. He was also elected as the Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander, International Jurisdiction, Inc. in 2002. Deacon Whitehead was also a Shriner in Makkari Temple, a member of the Survivors Club, and a member of the 20-30 Club. For many years, he was also a distributor for the Watkins Company. Additionally, at one time, he was a member of the Rosicrucian Society. He was well dressed, an avid reader, was interested in history, active in the community, a supporter of strong families and had a strong work ethic. He set the example for his children and grandchildren, and was a man of great wisdom. Deacon Whitehead was predeceased by two brothers, Linwood L. Whitehead, Jr., and Jasper Whitehead, one grandson, Anthony Taylor, and a great-grandson RaShawn Whitehead. To treasure his memories, he leaves his seven children; Rosalind C. Taylor (George), James W. Whitehead, Jr., Robert A Whitehead, Sr. (Jocelyn), Reginald Whitehead, Angela D. Whitehead, Stephanie B. Jones (Darryl), and Steven W. Whitehead (Hilarie). He leaves behind his six siblings: Rosetta Williams, Esther Robinson, Dorothy Whitehead, Joyce Griffin, Yvonne Whitehead, and Herbert Whitehead. He is survived by his 12 grandchildren: Latif Tarik, Tarvaris Taylor, RaShad Whitehead, James Whitehead, III, Robert Whitehead, Jr., Matthew Whitehead, Michael Majette, Gerald Jones, Andre Majette, Aydreyn Majette, Savannah Whitehead and Sierrah Whitehead; his five great grandchildren: Anthony Hardy, Dadreon Whitehead, Troy Brown, Niani Tarik, Chasity Elliott. Survvivors also include one aunt Cora Lee Sharp and one sister-in-law, Celestine Whitehead. In addition, he leaves a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, fraternity brothers, neighbors, friends, and his New Bethel Family. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11am at New Bethel Baptist Church by Bishop J. M. Whitaker. The interment will be at Roosevelt Memorial Park, Chesapeake, Virginia. The family will be at the residence to receive friends. Viewing will begin Tuesday from 11am until 7pm. Fisher Funeral Home, 1520 Effingham Street, Portsmouth, Virginia.