Kay Whitmore, 1932-2004

I read in the Rochester and Democrat and Chronicle this afternoon that prominent businessman and devout Mormon Kay Whitmore passed away last night after a struggle with leukemia. It’s only by chance that I read it in the paper before I heard it over the phone; he happened to be a member of my ward.

I can’t say I knew him very well. When we moved here he and his wife were serving in a singles ward in the next stake over, and they subsequently only attended our ward for a short time before they got restless and left on a mission (their second; previously they had overseen a mission in England) to southern California. They were simply too busy doing good things for me to run into him very often.

I did see him about a month ago, however, around the time of his diagnosis, and the circumstances of the meeting speak concisely to his character as citizen and saint: this former CEO of Kodak–the board of which, incidentally, forced him into retirement in 1993 because they wanted to trim more employees from the company than he was willing to fire–was sweeping up the gym floor after the boy scout pancake breakfast.

(Cross-posted at OT)


  1. His passing is a real loss, not just for corporate America but for the world in general. “Anxiously engaged in good causes” is a way to sum up his recent years.

  2. I didn’t know him personally, but Warner Woodworth, my former employer and professor, never had enough good things to say about him (and for Warner to say something good about a corporate titan was exceedingly rare).

  3. He sounds like a real trooper, sad to see him go. Just attending a Boy Scout pancake breakfast and eating anything there shows unusual courage and commitment, much less being humble enough to sweep up the floor.

  4. Ummmmm … pancakes.

    Sounds like a great guy to me.

  5. Dave Allred says:

    Kay Whitmore was my mission president, and in my interaction with him, I saw many of the traits mentioned above and noted in the newspaper article. President Whitmore was a remarkable man.

  6. I served with President Whitmore in the Genesee Valley Branch, the Rochester singles branch referred to in the post. At the time, I was starting out in my business career. President Whitmore graciously offered to spend an evening with me in somewhat of a “career counseling” role. I still have the notes I took, and I review them often. I’ll always appreciate his willingness to do that for me.


  1. […] Chris Heimerdinger has touched on it in his Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series, but we still need a good, thorough historical fiction of the latter half of the book of Alma. As many times as I’ve read the Book of Mormon, all those wars are still kind of muddled for me. And as Ronan has pointed out, Captain Moroni is a complex character. It would be interesting to explore the motivations for his actions. Does he have a dark side or are there explanations for his behavior? A good historical fiction could make a case there. Plus, latter Alma also claims two of the top ten badasses of The Book of Mormon. You can’t beat that. […]