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Remembering James Whitman; Clarion University Mourns Death of Friend, Student

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Lexis Twentier

JW 12CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will,” by Chuck Palahniuk.

James Whitman did just that – created something that will live on forever.

Clarion University students remember James as the type of friend everyone wanted and needed. He was the person who would always check-up on everyone and talk for hours just to catch up.

“He had so many best friends. Honestly, he made sure he always checked in with all his friends and kept in touch,” said friend Sarah Bridges. “He always had pure intentions and a good heart.”

Sarah also recalls James as more than just a friend; he was her “personal trainer,” business tutor, and someone who was like a brother.

“He came to Clarion to ‘conquer the campus,’ meaning he wanted to meet and befriend everyone he could. He was a people person who loved conversation. He loved working out, stocks, and his friends and family,” Bridges added. “He taught me business, while I helped him with science. He made workout plans for everyone and was my mini personal trainer. He would call in the summers to check-in, and we would end up talking for hours…you will forever be like a brother to me.”

Photo from Sarah Bridges.

Photo from Sarah Bridges.

James was a Florida man, meaning he had never seen leaves in the fall or snow in the winter. His friends at Clarion were beyond excited to share these first moments with him.

“Since he was from Florida, I got to experience his first snow with him. We were out with friends and it started to spit the tiniest amount, he was absolutely amazed. We ran outside and he was spinning around looking up at the sky and the snow coming down,” friend Taylor Cadman said. “He was like a child. It was absolutely amazing to experience this with him, and I will cherish it forever.”

Photo from Taylor Cadman.

Photo from Taylor Cadman.

James’ reaction to snow was no different than his everyday personality. According to several friends, he was always smiling, happy, and excited to see you.

“He was the brightest, happiest person I’ve ever met. No doubt, he always had a smile on his face,” Megan Lupole, a friend, mentioned. “And – did you really ever talk to James if he didn’t wink at you?”

Photo from Megan Lupole.

Photo from Megan Lupole.

Another friend, Tessa Roberts, is remembering James by laughing at some of the things he did – or in this case, didn’t do.

“My favorite memory of James is when he yelled at me for doing the dishes,” Roberts said. “The dude never did do his dishes.”

An acquaintance of James, Megan Campano, gave a testimonial on his character towards someone he barely knew at first.

“One time I got left at a party and separated from my friends, and as I was about to leave and start to walk home alone in the pouring rain because I had no other option, James spotted me. He said ‘Hey, Megan how are you?’ with a big smile on his face. He invited me to walk with him to his house and wait inside in the dry and warmth until my friend could come get me,” Campano’s story began. “As we walked towards his house, he showed nothing but kindness and respect towards me — even holding his umbrella for me as we walked in the pouring down rain.”

Megan said that one story encompasses James’ character and traits – kind-hearted, sweet, respectful, down-to-earth, and friendly. After that one time, James always made sure to say “Hi” to her anytime he saw her and would check on how she was doing.

Photo from Megan Lupole.

Photo from Megan Lupole.

Sisters Emily and Hannah Phillips, both good friends of James, reflected on meeting him their freshman year of college – they considered themselves lucky. They are carrying on the memories of him at Greek Sing (an annual event for Greek Life where they compete with song and dance), working with him to learn the dance, studying in the library, and hanging out on the weekends.

“He was someone who you could always look forward to seeing,” Hannah and Emily agreed upon. “He always gave everything his all and lit up every room he walked into.”

All of James’ friends remembered him with nothing but fond memories and happy thoughts. He was someone who would do anything for anyone, give you the shirt off of his back, or walk home with you in the rain to make sure you were safe.

Photo from Sarah Bridges.

Photo from Sarah Bridges.

Along with his friends, some of James’ favorite professors are sure to miss him and his smile, as well. A few of the professors that James looked up to at Clarion University were Professor John Eichlin, Professor Sandra Trejos, and Professor Chad Smith.

James was a member of Kappa Delta Rho (KDR) Fraternity at Clarion, where he was actively involved.

Along with his friends, James will be missed by his closest friends and roommates, Nevin Donahue, Jake Terry, Max Mari, Tony Lopreiato, Nick Coleman, and previous roommate Ryan Ellefsen.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Special condolences go out to James’ mother, Michelle, his father, Bob, and his brother, Tyler, from his friends, classmates, roommates, and the entire Clarion community.

For anyone interested in donating to James Whitman’s funeral expense fund can do so here.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.

Photo from Bailey Miller.


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