EAST WINTHROP - Dad passed peacefully on the kind of day he loved, a clear and crisp fall day, Oct. 28, 2007. \r\r\n\r\r\nBorn July 3, 1923, in Trenton, to Laurence and Mary (Royal) Hodgkins, Whit was the eldest of seven children. He attended school in Ellsworth and, following graduation, joined the war effort, training as a tail gunner. \r\r\n\r\r\nDad was very proud of his service to his country and often shared memories of 'World War II days.' Soon after the war, Whit married his sweetheart, Bee, thus beginning their lifelong journey together. \r\r\n\r\r\nWhit enrolled at the University of Maine, Orono, graduating with a bachelor's degree in horticulture and later pursuing his master's degree. After a brief time in Boston, Dad and Mom returned to Maine and Whit began his career with the University Cooperative Extension Service in Augusta, where he honed his natural abilities as a real people person. Making connections with people and helping them work toward accomplishing their goals was a source of great pride to him. \r\r\n\r\r\nIn 1958, Mom and Dad moved to East Winthrop to the home he built for his wife and two young girls. Here, he cultivated his love for growing things into beautiful gardens full of small fruits, vegetables and flowers. Together, the family ran White's Orchard, one of the first pick-your-own apple orchards in the area, for more than 25 years. After selling the farm, Dad continued his passion for growing apples at Whit's Orchard behind the yellow house on Case Road, where he was always eager to show a new variety he was trying or give a lesson in pruning and grafting. \r\r\n\r\r\nMost important to Dad was the time he could spend with his family. Papa loved taking his grandsons for rides on 'Big Red' and 'Little Green,' good times spent with family at the camp in Wayne, and road trips to Tomhegan on Moosehead Lake. \r\r\n\r\r\nWhitney was predeceased by his daughter, Sharon Lee; brothers Phil and Jerry and sister-in-law Marion; sister Helen and brother-in-law Clayton Gott; and brothers-in-law Stewart Cousins and James Lebares. \r\r\n\r\r\nHe is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bee; their daughter, Kathy Brown, her husband Bill, and grandsons Paul and Rob, of Mount Vernon; brothers Elmer and his wife, Maureen, and Jim and his wife, Sue, all of Trenton; sister Jeanice Cousins of Billings, Mont.; brother-in-law Bud and his wife, Joy, of Surry; sister-in-law Helen, of Falmouth; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. \r\r\n\r\r\nSincere thanks to Dr. Kane, Dr. Magiancolda, Dr. Baggott and Dr. Wirth for their excellent care and genuine caring throughout Dad's illnesses. Special thanks to all the wonderful staff, residents and their families at the Maine Veterans' Home for your care and concern for Dad, Mom and our family throughout Dad's illness. Warm and heartfelt thanks to dear friends and family who so thoughtfully showed their concern and caring and kept in touch with cards, phone calls and visits. You all hold a special place in our hearts. \r\r\n\r\r\nAt Dad's request, there will be no visiting hours. A graveside service with military honors will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, Civic Center Drive, Augusta. \r\r\n\r\r\nIn lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to a 4-H youth group of your choosing or the Pine Tree Society and Camp, P.O. Box 518, Bath, ME 04530. \r\r\n\r\r\nArrangements are in the care of Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home, 1 Church St., Augusta.