Robert “Bob” Joseph Whitehead
Robert Joseph Whitehead, a lifelong Lakelander, died peacefully at Lakeland Regional Health on Friday May 28, 2021, surrounded by his family.
Bob was born at Grady General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on February 22, 1934 to Caleb Harold and Dorothy Goldsmith Whitehead. The family moved to Lakeland that same year.
Bob attended Dixieland Elementary, Lakeland Junior High School, and graduated from Lakeland High School in 1953; a member of the first class to graduate from its present location on Hollingsworth Road. He also attended Florida Southern College in 1957.
Bob married the prettiest girl in Lakeland, Betty Ann Anderson. They were married 64 years.
Bob was a member of the U.S. Army, serving in Korea with the 19th Infantry Regiment 24th Division. He was honorably discharged with the service rank E-6 USAR- Staff Sergeant.
Returning to Lakeland, he worked for Mutual Wholesale Company for 35 years in the office, sales and warehouse.
In 1963 Bob and Betty became members of the First Baptist Church of Lakeland, now named Lakes Church. Bob served as an adult department leader and taught an adult Sunday School Class for several years.
Bob was a faithful supporter of all local sports. He was a member of the Lakeland High School Booster Club, and Lakeland High School Century Club, serving as president twice. Bob was also the historian for Lakeland High School football program, a lifetime member of the Lakeland High School Century Club Board of Directors, and a member of the Lakeland High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
As president of the Lakeland High School Booster Club, Bob led a drive to fund and build one of the first football weight rooms in the county- a project many said could not be accomplished. Bob and the boosters not only led the community to build the weight room, but also spearheaded another fundraiser to completely equip the room with Nautilus equipment. At the time, the Nautilus equipment was new on the market and considered state of the art exercise equipment.
The Nautilus equipped weight room was so popular that the community requested night adult classes, which at one time had over 300 participants and classes had to be scheduled in three different sessions, four nights a week.
Bob coached little league, pony league, and senior league baseball for several years.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Charles Harold and Jerry Franklin, and his son Scott Anderson Whitehead.
He is survived by his wife Betty Ann Whitehead, son Robert Harold Whitehead and daughter, Teri Lynn Richardson. He has seven grandchildren: Lindsey, James, Andrew, Robert, John, McKenzie and Henry. He has one great grandchild, Alexander.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, June 5th at 10:00 AM at Lakes Church, 1010 East Memorial Boulevard, Lakeland, followed by funeral services at 11:00 AM.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Lakeland Senior High School Booster Club 726 Hollingsworth Road Lakeland, Florida 33801, or Lakes Church, 1010 East Memorial Blvd., Lakeland, Florida 33801.
Condolences may be sent to golakeschurch.com
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