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John Whatley

Oct. 10, 1919-Sept. 17, 2004 Pasadena attorney John Howard Whatley, prominent in the legal, philanthropic, and religious community for more than half a century, died at his Pasadena home on Sept. 17, 2004 of complications from leukemia.

He was a resident of La Cañada Flintridge from 1950 until he moved back to Pasadena in 1993.

Born October 10, 1919 in Alabama, John received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alabama in 1941, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1941, and served in the South Pacific and the Philippines as a captain in the anti-aircraft artillery until his discharge in 1946. He married Beth Barnes in 1943. She passed away in 1979. They had two daughters, Dixie Whatley Cobb, television host and reporter, and Susanne Whatley Miller, Los Angeles radio news anchor. John married Roberta Smith in 1986.

John is survived by his wife Roberta, of Pasadena; daughter Susanne and son-in-law Tom Miller and their two children, Holly and April Miller, of La Cañada Flintridge; daughter Dixie, a resident of Boston; and sister Virginia Henderson, who resides in Shreveport, Louisiana.


After the WW II, John received a master of laws degree from the University of Southern California, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1947. He practiced law in Pasadena from 1947 until his retirement in late 2002. He was a member of the Pasadena Bar, Los Angeles County Bar and California Bar Associations. He was a 33° Mason, Wise Master and Commander, Council of Kadosh, and a member of the board of directors of the Childhood Language Center at the Pasadena Scottish Rite; member of Pasadena Masonic Lodge #272, Al Malaikah Shrine, and American Legion Post 13; president of the Pasadena Y’s Men’s Club, Civitan Club, Pasadena First Baptist Church Foundation, Pasadena Legal Aid Society and New Century Club; served on the board of directors of Pasadena Metropolitan YMCA, Foothill Workshop for the Handicapped, Villa Esperanza and the Pasadena University Club; and he was an active member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association for over 35 years.

Those desiring to celebrate John’s life may contribute to the Pasadena First Baptist Church Foundation, 75 No. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, 91101, or the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center, 150 No. Madison Ave., Pasadena, 91101, or the Memorial Endowment Fund of the Pasadena Y’s Men’s Club, P.O. Box 2233, Pasadena, CA 91102.