Roger Whipple, devoted husband and beloved retired Keene High School English teacher, died early Tuesday in his Swanzey home after a year-long, courageous battle against bladder cancer. He was 84
Roger and his wife, Lorraine, were breakfast regulars at Panera’s in Keene where former colleagues and students often stopped by their booth to chat and reminisce. Roger worked crossword puzzles and always had a book at hand. He was a voracious reader – from popular fiction to classics. He even had a collection of Harry Potter books.
Over the years, Roger and Lorraine were regulars at places like The Swanzey Diner, Audrey’s Café, The Pub, the Marlborough Meeting House, JimEddies and Panera’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
While flowers would be gratefully accepted, the family would prefer donations in Roger’s memory to the donor’s favorite charity.
Roger taught English at Keene High School from 1958 to 1990, when he retired. Former students and his wife recalled that he was someone who never raised his voice and yet in his quiet way maintained discipline in the classroom. He was a member of the Cheshire County Teachers Association, the New Hampshire Education Association, the National Education Association (NEA) and the Cheshire County Retired Teachers Association.
Roger was a communicant and lector at St. Bernard’s, St. Stephen’s and St. Anthony’s parishes.
He was an avid sports fan, following the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and could often be found during the winter in front of the television following his favorite team, the Boston Celtics. He also enjoyed playing golf with friends and family.
He had a dry wit which surfaced even during his illness. At one point, after a harrowing night a few months ago in the emergency room, his doctors came to check on him the next morning. They wanted to make sure he was okay. They asked the usual questions – his name, day of the week, where he was – which he answered without a problem. Then the doctor asked, “Do you know who the president is?” There was a long pause and then Roger said, “Unfortunately – I do.”
Roger was born November 6, 1932, in Keene, the son of Eva (Rogers) and Eurtis Whipple. After graduating from Keene High School in 1950, he served three years in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict- two of those years in Germany. He received an honorable discharge on October 15,1954, with the rank of Airman First Class (E-3) and a National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. On his return, he enrolled at Keene State College, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. While studying for his degrees, he worked as a nighttime taxi driver.
He and Lorraine built a home in Swanzey, where he created a sophisticated woodworking shop in his basement. He created and assembled wood pieces for his home and even made a wooden magazine rack that was auctioned by public television. An avid woodworker, he subscribed to a wide range of woodworking magazines – Better Homes & Garden’s Wood – The World’s Leading Woodworking Magazine, Fine Woodworking, Wood Craft and Woodsmith.
Roger and Lorraine and her aunt and uncle, Ruthie and Joe Labrie from Athol, Mass., made regular summer trips to Maine. It was after his last trip to Maine in September 2016, that Roger, who didn’t feel well during the trip, was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Roger is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and through marriage, his aunt, Ruthie and her husband Joe, and their extended family.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, October 1, 2017. From 4 to 7pm. in the funeral chapel. A funeral mass with Christian burial rights will be celebrated on Monday, October 2, 2017 at 10am. in St. Bernard’s Church, 161 Main St. Keene, NH. 03431. where he and his wife, the former Lorraine D. Jarvis, were married 61 years ago on August 25, 1956. All services are under the direction of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. www.cheshirefamilyfuneralhome.com