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Elliott W. Whitney, III

Elliott Webster Whitney, III–Born November 23, 1947, at Memorial Hospital in Nashua, Eli died September 5, 2019, at Community Hospice House, Merrimack.

Eli was a 1966 graduate of Nashua High, and 1970 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he majored in business and served as Vice President of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He retired in January, 2019, from Dalton Electric Company, Ipswich, Massachusetts, after 33 years where he worked his way from sole salesman to president over the course of his career. Eli took great pride in his work at Dalton where he fostered a family atmosphere and cared about every employee, where he built a profit-share system for everyone in the company as well as helping some employees with issues of immigration to bring family members overseas into this country.

An avid Marine, Eli joined the Corps during Vietnam and was stationed in Hawaii. Eli held the “O” (Obstacle) Course record at Quantico for more than forty years. He often told the story of how that happened. Inspired by a difficult drill instructor who took a dislike to this young marine who had to get a height waiver to join the Corps, Eli would go out to the O course at night to practice his moves in order to figure how to use his 6’8″ height to the best of his advantage. As a result, he achieved a course record that held for decades. Prior to retirement, he joined the team in charity work at Building Dreams For Marines.

Eli’s legacy of determination and passion not only impacted his family but stretches across the Nashua community in a myriad of ways. He played one year of basketball at UNH and brought his zeal for the game to coaching a generation of girls for eleven years, winning six city championships. He was an exceptional coach because he not only inspired 6-9 year-old girls, he taught them the skills to make a difference on the floor and in their lives as they gained confidence and poise, while pursuing a passion for competition. Eli also founded a fifteen-year-old boys AAU team that won two state championships and appeared at Nationals, offering playing opportunities to young men who might otherwise never have had the opportunity.

Eli grew up in First Church, Nashua, and became a leader among deacons during many years of service, including serving as a member on many church committees. Eli was an active confirmand sponsor, inspiring many young men and women to explore their faith–and their doubt–with open honesty that usually culminated in a mandatory mountain climb. In Eli’s mind, that “mountaintop experience” inevitably proved to be a God experience.

An avid mountain climber, last year, Eli completed his goal to climb all 48 4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire. Eli was a member of Nashua Country Club where he shared his passion for golf and curling for many years, competing at the national level and fostering many lifelong friendships.

He had music in his bones and his fingers, teaching himself to play harmonica as a teenager. Totally self-taught, Eli was known for his innate ability to pick up any instrument–even odd instruments like a finger piano or a squeeze-box, and be able to pick out a tune even though he had never played the instrument before. He loved to sing.

Eli’s most striking legacy was his sparkling personality, a sunshine person who spread joy just by how he lived each day and treated anyone he met–with an infectious enthusiasm and a zest for life. He was a master at living in the present and will be remembered by all who knew him as an authentic, caring, humble person with a larger-than-life personality that somehow fully fit his imposing frame. He was also best known for his huge hugs.

Eli is survived by his wife Quincy, son Gabriel Gooding Whitney, of Nashua, and daughter Meranne Whitney Behrends and son-in-law Lucas Carl Behrends of Portland, Maine, and granddaughter Maple Whitney Behrends.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, September 14, 11am, at First Church, Nashua. There will be a celebration of life party to follow at the Nashua Country Club, 2-5pm.