Curtis Charles Whittington, Jr., 81, passed away on April 19, 2021. Curtis, born on December 30, 1939 in Bennettsville, SC, was the son of the late Jewell Odom Whittington Insel and Curtis Charles Whittington and stepson of the late Herman Leon Insel.
Curtis graduated from McClenaghan High School in Florence, SC in 1958 and from The Citadel in 1962 where he was in Band Company and the Summerall Guards. He entered the Army after graduation and chose to go to flight school. He was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany then transferred to Vietnam where he flew OV-1 Mohawk airplanes on reconnaissance missions. When he got out of the Army, he moved his family to Millville, PA to run a small printing company, Precision Printers, Inc., for his good friend, Karl Girton, whom he met while at The Citadel.
Curtis was able to hone his woodworking skills while living in PA. He began to make Early Country Pennsylvania pieces of furniture using dovetails and square pegs. He would bring a piece of furniture to display at the craft shop at the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island, SC when his family would come to Garden City Beach for summer vacations. When he and his first wife, Virginia Rose Whittington divorced, he moved to Pawleys Island where he turned his serious hobby into a successful 40+ year profession of designing and building over 1500 museum quality commissioned pieces of furniture and carvings. He delivered and shipped his furniture all over the U.S. and to four foreign countries including Africa. Besides furniture for homes and offices, he made many pieces for numerous churches and chapels in PA, SC, Virginia and Texas. He also carved the great seals for seventeen Federal Court Rooms in SC.
Curtis certainly had a humorous side. He blended his wit with his creativity via cartoon drawings and caricature carvings. An example came about while sitting and drinking beers on Curtis’s custom designed Drinkin’ Stools during one of the Crawfish Festivals. He and his dear friend, Dickie Crayton, came up with an idea for a carved bird they could make and sell to their friends. Hence the infamous Pawleys Island Bird and its entire extinction story was born. These carved icons are known for keeping the roaches away, and for many of us with these birds, they seem to work well.
Curtis and his second wife, Kathy Whittington, moved to Boerne, TX in 1996, where he continued to design and build furniture for 15 years. His furniture deliveries would become family and friend visitation trips, stopping off in Atlanta, GA and Sumter, SC to visit his daughters and granddaughter, then on to Pawleys Island, Virginia and PA to visit his friends and many of his customers who became his friends. He moved back to Pawleys Island in 2011 to be closer to his family. As his daughters are finding out, but have already known for years, Curtis made many good friends over the years. He kept in touch with high school, college and Army friends through reunions and phone calls, his many customers who became good friends, and the friends he made while living in PA, TX and SC.
Surviving are his daughters, Gray Maklary, Sumter; and Amy Whittington, Dacula, GA; and his granddaughter, Olivia Maklary, Columbia. He is also survived by two nieces, Ashley Smith (Chris), Virginia; and Jenny Hambrecht, Florida; and by numerous Odom family cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister, Linda Whittington Gregory.
The family is planning a Celebration of Life to take place in Pawleys Island and a memorial service in Florence in the near future. In lieu of flowers, the family requests considering a memorial donation to the Citadel Foundation at https://foundation.citadel.edu, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409.
For more information or to sign the online guestbook, please visit www.burroughsfh.com.
Burroughs Funeral Home (843-651-1440) of Murrells Inlet is assisting the family.
To send flowers to Curtis' family, please visit our floral store.