Thomas Buford "Spider" Whitman will celebrate his 90th birthday on June 26, 2014.
He was born in Damascus, Va., in 1924 to Thomas L. and Carrie E. Whitman. Shortly after his birth, they moved to Kingsport, Tenn., where he attended city schools. While at John Sevier Middle School, Thomas met his future wife, Juanita Salley. They then attended Dobyns-Bennett High School.
Thomas was drafted into the Army on Jan. 31, 1943, during World War II, and he served in the Pacific as an amphibious engineer. While on leave from basic training in July 1943, Thomas and Juanita were married, and will celebrate their 71st anniversary on July 11, 2014. After completing his military service in the Pacific, he returned to Kingsport and resumed his work at Tennessee Eastman, from which he retired at the age of 62 after more than 30 years of service.
Thomas and Juanita have two children, Terry Thomas Whitman and wife Terri, and Sandra Jessee and husband David; one granddaughter, Tina Whitman; two great-grandchildren, Corbin and MacKenzie; three step grandchildren, Andrew Dean, April Griffin and husband Chad, and Justin Dougherty and wife Lindsey; and two step great-grandchildren, Alex and Nolan.
Thomas is a member of Island Road Evangelical Methodist Church, where he has served in various positions over the years. He is a loving and Godly husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, step grandfather, great-grandfather and step great-grandfather.