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Thomas Warren Whitaker (Tom)

Died: August 8, 1987

Tom Whitaker came to Yale in the fall of 1962 after preparing at Jonas E. Salk High School and General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, Long Island, New York. The son of Albert Whitaker, retired special agent for the Secret Service for more than four decades and the head of the Secret Service in New York City for many years, Tom came naturally to, and brought in his own right, a strong sense of, service to his country, friends, and allegiances, indeed, his every undertaking.

At Yale, in addition to being a History Intensive major, he was active in APO, served as Whip for the Conservative Party in the Political Union, played tackle football for Pierson for three years, and was a member of the Rugby Club. One of his first year roommates, Carl Krasik, recalls that Tom was “really proud to be at Yale,” was also really proud of his family, and was just a really decent and good person to be around. Fellow first year roommate Ralph Faville agrees, and recalled that Tom invited him to join him and his family for Thanksgiving his freshman year, Ralph being unable to return home to Minnesota for Thanksgiving break. In later years Tom was a member of the Yale Alumni Association and an active fund-raiser for the University.

After graduating from Yale, Tom became an officer in the United States Navy and served in Vietnam, where his tour of duty for more than fourteen months exposed him extensively to Agent Orange. Tom attended and graduated from Cornell Law School, realizing a goal that he had had throughout his years at Yale. His friend Fred Nagle remembers that Tom always had a sign he had made on his desk for motivation, “So you want to go to law school?” Fred said that Tom worked as customs officer at JFK while he was at Yale, and he recalls Tom telling him, “You wouldn’t believe the stuff we found.”

After graduating from Cornell Law School, his sense of service continued. Tom was active in the United States Naval Reserve, achieving the rank of Commander and accepting assignment to the Secret Service; and he joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he was a prosecutor for nine years. He then accepted an offer to join the law department of AT&T, where he practiced for five years until his death.

Tom died in August of 1987 of testicular cancer, which many suspected was attributable to his exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam. Surviving Tom were his wife Eileen Hans Whitaker and his son, Thomas Warren Whitaker, Jr., a sister, Tracie Denise Bowers, and his parents.