Dr. Walter Clayton Whitehurst, Jr.

June 12, 1942 - June 20, 2023
Dr. Walter Clayton Whitehurst, Jr.

Memorial Gifts & Donations

It is with great sadness that our family announces the death of Dr. Walter Clayton Whitehurst, Junior. He was a beloved gift born on June 12, 1942 at Parkview Hospital, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. His birth was attended by his grandfather Dr. Jasper Hemingway. He was the son of Lois Pope Hemingway and Walter Clayton Whitehurst of Bethel, North Carolina.

A quiet and studious tow-headed boy, he loved being outdoors and had a reverence for the natural world. He graduated from Georgia Military Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, where he boarded for two years. He continued his education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he enjoyed being a brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon social fraternity. To ensure that “Buddy”, as he was nicknamed by his older sister, had no doubt about his plan to attend medical school after Carolina, his very observant daddy planted ten acres of cucumbers for Buddy to plow, harvest and sell the summer after graduation. Buddy began medical school that fall. Along the way, while enjoying summering at their family cottages at Atlantic Beach, Buddy met Mary Winifred Everett, a blonde curly haired fun-loving girl. They married in 1963 and shared life’s adventures together for over 63 years. During those years, Buddy continued his advanced studies with an internship at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and completed a residency in Radiology at the Medical College of Virginia, Richmond. He became a Board-Certified Member of the American Board of Diagnostic Radiology. He completed his military service at Martin Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia, obtaining the rank of Major.

During those years, the family welcomed a son, Walter Clayton Whitehurst III and a daughter, Mary Winifred Everett Whitehurst. In 1974, Buddy and Mary moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina for its proximity to Atlantic Beach. He became a staff Radiologist at Onslow Memorial Hospital. He was Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Department of Radiology.

Buddy was always so proud of their family exploits. They continued the family tradition of summering at Camp Morehead and the beach. Some of his fondest memories were times spent at Fairfield Gun Club, Lake Mattamuskeet, Hyde County. He taught us to hunt and fish and above all, enjoyed time spent together as a family. There were always boats, hunting gear and fishing tackle at the ready. Son, Clay, became a star shot and daughter Molly bagged her first and only duck while hunting with the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

In 2000, Buddy retired from Onslow Memorial Hospital and they moved to Wilmington to be closer to their grandchildren. Of course, retirement did not last long as Buddy was offered a challenging position at Delaney Radiology where he enjoyed ten years of a dream job.

Buddy will be lovingly remembered as one of the last of the truly fine Southern gentlemen. Soft spoken and kind, we learned humility, gratitude and optimism by observing him. He was a lifelong learner and particularly loved studying the Bible, the Revolutionary War, World War II and family history. He became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution while helping Mary research her family for her Daughters of the American Revolution membership. Buddy was adored and admired by his wife Mary; his devoted son, Walter Clayton Whitehurst III and his wife Diana of Raleigh; his devoted daughter Mary Everett Whitehurst Bourne and her husband, Banks, of Charlotte. Also, to cherish his memory are his grandchildren: Stephens Taylor Whitehurst of Chapel Hill, Walter Clayton Whitehurst IV of Wilmington, Raymond Fairbanks Bourne, Junior of Chapel Hill and Mary Pope Nelson Whitehurst Bourne of Charlotte. He is also survived by his sister Jenny Whitehurst Hawkins of San Diego, California.

Buddy was a happy soul which he made abundantly clear because he always whistled while he walked. We will miss him.

Please share memories and condolences by visiting the “Tribute Wall” below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099

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  • July 06, 2023
    Danial Crom says:
    Sorry for your loss.

  • June 26, 2023
    Fred Scialabba says:
    I first met Buddy at Onslow about 25 years ago and he was the same gracious and honorable man throughout the time I knew him. When a need for a radiologist arose at Delaney, I immediately thought of Buddy and I (and others) were able to convince him to join us. Buddy was a valued member of our Delaney family for the next 10 years and Annette and I had the delight to count Buddy and Mary among our friends. Buddy was a gentleman in every way, with an inquisitive mind that sought knowledge during his professional career, as well as in his expansive interests outside of medicine. May the Lord's Grace come to Mary and the Whitehurst family during this difficult time. We will miss Buddy.

  • June 25, 2023
    yale popkin lit a candle:
    Lit since June 25, 2023 at 6:07:25 PM

  • June 23, 2023
    Mary Pope Bourne says:
    I only knew Daddy Bird for 18 years, so I cannot fathom all of the lives he lived and the hearts he touched. But he managed to touch mine and to distill his character and wisdom in the brief period of his life in which I was alive. Although I did not know him for 81 years, I know that those who have known him longer than I have been truly changed by him. They bring his character with him, so that I may understand the Daddy Bird I never knew and remember the Daddy Bird who is only with us now in remembrance. May God truly bless Daddy Bird and reward him for all of his efforts in this life. Until heaven when we shall meet again God Willing. You will surely be missed but never forgotten.

  • June 22, 2023
    Courtney and Judith Talbot says:
    Buddy was a kind and true Southern Gentleman and great neighbor. We will miss him.