Cover photo for Hannah May Whitson's Obituary
Hannah May Whitson Profile Photo
1921 Hannah 2018

Hannah May Whitson

November 14, 1921 — June 8, 2018

November 14, 1921 June 8, 2018

Hannah May Whitson, 96, died peacefully at home surrounded by those who loved her on June 8, 2018, after a two-year battle with cancer. She was born in Yenangyaung, Burma, where her father, Idris Thomas, had taken a job with the Burma Oil Co. in order to save enough money to marry Phebe Colvert in 1920. In 1922, Idris and Phebe brought their baby, Hannah May, back to the USA and settled in Whittier, CA.

Hannah May graduated from Whittier High School and went on to Whittier College where she met a host of lifelong friends as well as her soulmate, James Harvey Whitson. They married January 2, 1943, and 2 months later Harvey was called into the Army Air Force. He was transferred from place to place during his training and as a young bride, Hannah May joined him in Sacramento, CA, Roswell, NM, Shreveport, LA and Greenville, SC, to spend as much time as possible together before he was shipped overseas. When Harvey returned in 1945 they moved into a new home and started their family of four children. She gave up teaching school after the 3rd child arrived and devoted her skills to homemaking, gardening and volunteering. Harvey retired in 1980 and for the next 20 years they travelled throughout the United States, Europe and Central America often combining their hobbies of golf and birding into their trips. She was an avid correspondent, keeping up with her many friends, distant cousins and far-flung grandchildren. She lost her dear Harvey in 2000 after 56 years of marriage and dedicated herself to an active widowhood of travel, exercise, gardening, book club and church participation.

Hannah May is survived by her sisters, Patricia Beisser Pascal and Megan Thomas; two daughters, Carol Whitson and Barbara Francis; two sons, Thomas (Joyce) Whitson and Dana (Teresa Martinez) Whitson; seven grandchildren, Allison (Robert), Patrick, Travis (Sondra), Andrew, Evan, Emily and Reid, three great-grandchildren and her nieces and nephews.

The family extends heartfelt gratitude to all the representatives of DialMed Homecare of Whittier who so capably cared for our mother during this last year, with special appreciation for Ana, Leticia, Claudia and Samantha, her true angels.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Hillcrest Congregational Church, 2000 West Road, La Habra Heights, CA 90631. A reception will follow at her home.

In lieu of flowers consider a donation in her name to Hillcrest Congregational Church or YMCA of Greater Whittier, 15740 Starbuck St, Whittier CA 90603,

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Hannah May Whitson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Hillcrest Congregational Church

2000 West Rd, La Habra Heights, CA 90631

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