Edward Whipple, a prominent Ventura attorney, died this week after a two-year battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 59.
Whipple was one of the old guard of the city's legal world, a familiar fixture at the courthouse who insisted on continuing his law practice even as he was increasingly debilitated by the nerve disease.
Friends called him a great lawyer and a gentleman. Before his illness, he was a volleyball player, swimmer and ardent traveler.
"Here was this active guy, 6 foot 2, 210 pounds, very athletic, who at the end could barely whisper a few words," said Terry Viele, a friend of Whipple's for 36 years, and his legal partner in Ventura for 29 years. "The normal attitude would be, 'I'm going to quit and do something else.' But he kept working" until the end of his life, she said.
Whipple was born in Oxnard, attended UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, and then went to law school at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He returned to Ventura to practice, opening his own firm nearly 30 years ago.
Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell, who opposed Whipple in many cases during his years as a prosecutor, said he held Whipple in the highest regard and was pained to see him sick.
"He was an outstanding lawyer who had been active his whole life, and you could see that his body was failing him," he said. "The really sad part is it seems to ravage the body, while the mind is completely acute."
Whipple is survived by his wife, Annette, and a daughter from a previous marriage, 32-year-old Kristin Whipple of Huntington Beach.
A private memorial service will be held Thursday. Visitation is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Ventura Yacht Club, 1755 Spinnaker Drive.