The Obit For William Whitley

William Dudley Whitley

The News & Observer, on 1/5/2009

William Dudley Whitley, 74, died on Saturday, January 3, 2009.

Born in Edgecombe County September 24, 1934, he was the son of W.D. Whitley, Sr. and Elma Brown Whitley.

He grew up in Pinetops, NC and attended the local schools until his senior year in high school when he transferred to Rocky Mount High where he excelled as an athlete in football, basketball and baseball.

He attended N.C. State University on a Baseball Scholarship and was named to the all ACC Baseball team his junior and senior years.

After graduation from State, he played professional baseball in the Milwaukee Braves farm system for several years before returning to Rocky Mount to teach and coach in the Rocky Mount City School System.

Prior to his retirement in 1996, he held many positions with the city schools including Teacher, Coach, Principal, Director of Personnel, Athletic Director and Superintendent of Schools.

In the 1962-63 school year when Rocky Mount High School won the State AAAA championships in football, basketball and baseball, he was assistant coach in football, assistant coach in basketball and head coach in baseball.

He was instrumental in the organization of the North Carolina High School Athletic Directors Association and was an early inductee into that organization's Hall of Fame. He was an avid Wolfpacker, an active church member and a community volunteer.

He is survived by Sheila Robbins Whitley, his wife of 52 years; their daughter, Beth Pridgen and husband, Dwayne; their son, W.D. "Dee" Whitley, III and wife, Crystal; and three beloved grandsons, Will Pridgen, W. D. "Lee" Whitley IV and Ben Whitley all of Rocky Mount.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Rocky Mount on Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:00 p.m., with Dr. Jody Wright and Rev. Elizabeth Edwards officiating. Coach Whitley has requested that all former players and fellow coaches sit together in the left front area of the church.

The family will greet friends in the Foyer of the church following the service.

If desired, memorials may be made to the Youth Ministry of Lakeside Baptist Church or to Hospice of Nash General Hospital.

Arrangements are by Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home and Cremations, 1130 N. Winstead Ave., Rocky Mount, NC.

Online condolences may be sent to the Whitley family by visiting