Ruby Elaine Whitsell

Ruby Elaine Whitsell, 95, of Pampa, passed away on September 11, 2019 in Pampa.

Services will be 2:00 PM Monday, September 16, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Ken McIntosh, interim pastor, and Nancy Ruff, commissioned pastor, officiating. Cremation will follow the service; arrangements are under the direction of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors.

Ruby Elaine Whitsell was born April 9, 1924 on The Bayou Teche in Jeanerette, Louisiana. She graduated in 1941 from Vinton High School in southwest Louisiana. Elaine attended John Sealy College of Nursing in Galveston, TX and graduated as an RN in 1945. After graduating, she worked as a charge nurse at John Sealy Hospital during which time she cared for those injured in the historic Texas City Explosion of 1947. She married Dr. W.R. Whitsell, Jr. in 1947. They were married in the Methodist Manse in Vinton, LA. The newlyweds moved to Fort Worth, TX where Elaine continued her career as a private duty nurse. Over the course of her lifetime, she traveled from coast to coast caring for family members. 

While serving on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years, the Whitsell’s were stationed throughout the United States including three years in the Panama Canal Zone. Their fondest military memories were while stationed at Plattsburgh, N.Y. They then retired from the military to Pampa, Texas in 1968. 

Mrs. Whitsell served in numerous organizations including: 20th Century Allegro Club, Top of Texas Medical Auxiliary, Pampa Fine Arts Association, U.S. Air Force Officers’ Wives Club, Pampa Senior Citizens, Sweet Adelines, Inc., Elder of Pampa First Presbyterian Church, and volunteer at the Satellite School (forerunner of Pampa Sheltered Workshop.)

Choral music was one of her great loves and she served as a dedicated choir member throughout her life. Everyone loved to hear Elaine play the piano which she played by ear. She was a very accomplished pianist playing all styles of music ranging from ragtime, classical to church hymns. While stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, Elaine sang tenor with an international acapella quartet named the Pancanettes. Hours of rehearsals bonded the singers in harmony and friendship. The group perfected their sound in a recording studio located in a large tiled bathroom belonging to their musical director. 

Elaine loved to entertain especially during her years as an officer’s wife. She was known as a gracious hostess and derived much joy from welcoming her friends and family in her home. 

She was also a talented seamstress, creating every day and elegant fashions for herself and her children. For her daughter’s wedding, she crafted five bridesmaids’ formal gowns and the bride’s trousseau. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Wilber R. Whitsell, Jr., who died in 1996; her parents, Warren Bell and Anna Pearl Pickett; her brothers, Warren G. Pickett and Owen D. Pickett; and a sister, Ethelyn P. Tinsley.

Survivors include her two daughters, Jo Linn Burt of Haughton, LA. and Janet Whitsell of Pampa; a son, Jon Whitsell of Santa Fe, NM; a brother, James H. Pickett of Vinton, LA; three grandchildren, C. Mark Burt, Jessica Burt Jayroe, and Mirabella Whitsell Angel and fiancé Ed Hernandez, two great grandsons; Daniel and Jack Jayroe; and two goddaughters, Paris Cydney Fox and Madison Fatheree Shelden. 

The family requests memorials be made to the Book of Remembrance of the First Presbyterian Church, 525 N. Gray, Pampa, Texas 79065; Pampa Senior Citizens, PO Box 475, Pampa, Texas 79066-0475; or to a favorite charity. 

The family is eternally grateful for the loving care provided by the entire staff of the Pampa Nursing Center, Interim Home Care/Hospice of Pampa, and Drs. Laxmichand and Nirmala Kamnani. 

The family will receive friends from 4:30-6:00 PM Sunday, September 15, 2019, at Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors.

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