Ronald A. Whitley

Ronald A. Whitley

August 04, 1938 - February 01, 2009

Ronald A. Whitley

August 04, 1938 - February 01, 2009


Whitley, Ronald A. 70, passed away SuperBowl Sunday, surrounded by his family. Born August 4, 1938 in Redding, CA, Ron grew up in Long Beach, where he began his lifelong love of sports. At Jordan High, he met his wife of 50 years, Josephine Jo Elzenga. Ron graduated from Long Beach State with a degree in Recreation Administration, then attended USC where he did graduate work in Public Administration.

Ron was the Director of Parks and Recreation in Newport Beach until his retirement in 1993. During his career, he was active in the California Park and Recreation Society, the Sister City program, and was instrumental in the success of many projects including new public parks, the OASIS Senior Center, and the Newport Theatre Arts Center.

Retirement gave Ron the chance to focus on his favorite pastimes-playing bridge, poker, and scrabble, playing with flowers, and watching his grandchildren play. He spent countless hours watching his grandson, Kevin, play baseball and basketball.

Ron has been a resident of Mission Viejo for 37 years, and the amazing neighbors of Christopher Park have been a huge support during his illness.

He is survived by his wife, Jo; their daughters Shana Stedman and Lené Whitley-Putz; son James Whitley; sons-in-law Greg Stedman and Ingrum Putz; grandchildren Kevin Stedman, Owen Putz, Cody Putz, and Gwinna Putz; mother Iva Jo Whitley; sisters Cheryl McKellips and Jerrilyn Pitsor; and loving little brother Robert Whitley.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on February 6th at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Vocational Visions, a non-profit organization supporting special needs adults that has been instrumental in the life of Ron’s son, Jim.

O’Connor Mortuary, 949 581-4300

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11 responses to Ronald A. Whitley

  1. Chuck Bryant says:

    I can recall many great times with Ron during our recreation years. He was a leader in the field for many years.
    My sympathy goes out to his family. We will all miss Ron

  2. Jeff Kolin says:

    I had the pleasure of working for Ron in Newport Beach as a Recreation Supervisor and Recreation Superintendent. He taught me a lot about working in an affluent community with high expectations for its public servants. I have many fond memories and more than a few good stories about commission meetings and projects we helped get completed. He helped prepare me for my career in City Management where I now work for the City of Santa Rosa. I hope that you recalled all the wonderful stories of his life and the contributions he made in Newport Beach and to your family. Jeff Kolin.

  3. Ron was my boss in Newport Beach; he helped me grow as a professional, and he was always a supportive and sweet man. I have many memories of his kindness. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Royleen White

  4. carlene cody says:

    When we were growing up, I thought Ron to be one of the sweetest male cousins I had. He was fun and handsomeand tall!. Although as adults we rarely spent any time together, I know he was a really nice man who will be missed by his family and by all who knew him.

  5. Penny Cody says:

    I always think of Ron as the son my Daddy never had because Aunt Jo and my Mom were expecting their first child in the same month. Apparently there was some rivalry between Dad’s about who was going to have a boy and Ron’s Dad won twice in fact: Even though we didn’t get to see our California cousins too often it was always great fun. I’ll never forget Ron’s beautiful hanging baskets of flowers he shared with me on his patio the last time we visited. He will be missed by many.

    Penny Cody

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