We sadly report that William F. Whitman has passed away. Bill was 92 years old. He devoted much of his life to the study and promotion of rare tropical fruits.  I knew Bill for many years and doubt he realized what a mentor he was for me. Throughout the rare fruit world many people who knew Bill are expressing their profound regret at the news of his passing. We wish to join in with those who loved and respected Bill in expressing our condolences to his wife Angela, his children:; Pamela, Christopher and Eric and his brothers; Dudley and Stanley.

Besides his numerous rare fruit accomplishments I remember Bill best as a founder of the Rare Fruit Council and a steam train enthusiast.

Bill was born in Chicago, Ill in 1914. He spent time in the Pacific and invented a camera for under water photography. (Film used in "The Sea Around Us" earned an Academy Award for him and brother Dudley).

He was a surfer and when he needed a Hawaiian style board in Florida he built one - it can be seen in the Whitman Museum in the Bal Harbour Shops. Bill and his brother Dudley are members of the East Coast Surfing hall of Fame.

Bill is credited with introducing about 80 varieties of tropical fruit into Florida from his relatively small side yard grove.

Bill we miss you.

Our pages are closed this week in mourning and out of respect to Bill and his family.

Bob G. Cannon II

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William Whitman

Bill's mangosteen

These, some of the last photographs of Bill, were kindly provided by Chris Hind.

Bill is to be interred in Chicago, next to his father.  A memorial service will be held in November at the Whitman Pavilion at Fairchild Gardens.

A few quotes from our groups:

"Just heard Bill Whitman passed away in his sleep last night.
Sad news indeed" Ken, Hawai'i


"This is indeed a sad day. I never met the man, only through his book. Was planning on meeting him the next time the Miami group went to his house.
So Sad." Andy, Florida


God bless him.
I had the honor to visit his garden and meet Bill a few times in these last years and he will be forever in my heart" Carlos, Brazil


"To Bill, thanks for the good memories, as well as the knowledge and advice you shared." Warren, Florida


"... I'm glad I got to take those pictures of him with his mangosteens. I'm glad I got such a wonderful experience there.
He will be missed =(
I will definitely cherish those memories..." Chris, Florida


"This is really a very sad news for the group and all fruit community. A pioneer and a very nice person.
Saudades Bill!" Antonio, Brazil


"This is indeed sad news. Bill and his wife were so gracious and welcoming the times I visited there. He was generous with his knowledge, any ripe fruit on hand, and with cuttings and seeds. My lemondrop mangosteen, which flowered for the first time this year, came from a seed from his tree. After my first visit there, his wife entertained us on the lanai with homebaked cookies.
He will be missed by all who knew him and many who knew him only through his books and reputation." Erica, Florida


"I never had the honor of knowing him, but I hope that when I move on from this life I leave for those who come after me as generously as he
has done.
His passing is indeed sad, but his generous legacy gives us all much reason to rejoice." Thurston+


I was sorry to hear about the passing away of Bill Whitman. In a short
period of time three great rare fruit enthusiasts have passed away:  first George Schattauer in Hawaii, then Milton Perez in Puerto Rico,  and now Bill Whitman in Florida. They all contributed a lot to the  world of tropical fruits in their respective areas. Also notice they all lived to be a ripe old age...with Bill reaching 92, and George and Milton reaching into the their 80's. So as Thurston points out, even though it is sad they have passed, it is also a joy to be able to make use of all they have left behind. Now it is up to us to continue this legacy. Keep planting those trees, sharing those seeds, and enjoying all those great fruits.
Oscar, Hawaii


I had met Bill Whitman in march 1983, 24 years ago and remember him so well.

He was a pioneer that collected rare fruit trees and invested lots of money to protect these specimens.

He gave me a guided tour through his trees and was very generous with fruits and seeds I was rather novice in this field as he was already then
interested in Brazilian fruits and I hardly knew well the East Asian fruits.

At a later stage I heard he traveled to so many places even by boat and collected fruits and seeds.

His book summarizes a way of special pioneering. I wish each of us to leave such a will and green treasures after death

Bill Whitman will be remembered because of kind heart, knowledge and pioneering

, Israel


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