Written by Mozelle Whitney Braithwaite
February 8, 2000
Lawrence was born March 28, 1919 in Mapleton Utah, To Harvey Alonzo Whitney, Sr., and Claudia Johnson Whitney. Lawrence had 10 brothers and 2 sisters. He was the 12th child in a family of 13 children. While living in Mapleton , Lawrence farmed and worked as a carpenter. There was work to do on the farm and then holding down a second job kept them very busy. As I remember, he was an easy child to rear. When getting spanked one day, I said to my mother "Why doesn't Lawrence ever get spanked?" She replied "He never does anything wrong." I always remember him as knowing what to do and what to say at the proper time.
As a pastime the boys spent time together building roads and castles/buildings in the washed sand that came from an irrigation ditch close by. It was fascinating to watch them as they worked so hard and seemed so interested in these projects.
Lawrence became interested in flying at a young age. He was a instructor at the Spanish Fork, Utah, airport. He was later an instructor in the United States Army air Corps in 1942. Honorably discharged veteran of World War II.
Completed Kolob Stake Junior Seminary May 1934 and received LDS Seminary Certificate of Graduation May 1937. Certificate from Nebo School District for satisfactorily completing the work of the Junior High School as required and was awarded this certificate of promotion to the senior high school.
He left Mapleton Elementary School and went to Springville Jr. High.
From 1936 11th grade yearbook "Here is to wishing happiness to a cute and bashful boy. Well, Lawrence, your are a darn swell fellow. I'm not just say this just to have something to say, but I mean it. honestly I do". Don't forget the fun we've had riding the school truck. I hope we can always be friends. A Mapleton Pal, Fern Jensen."
He graduated from Springville High School in 1937. (76 graduates in all). Teacher Hugh Baxter wrote in yearbook "Friend Lawrence, I have appreciated your fine attitude in class." William T. Tew Jr., also a teacher wrote, "If we had more kids like you, it would be a credit to everyone here."
In 1941 Lawrence was an Air cadet at Garner Field, Livalde, Texas. "Primary airfield is known far and wide for the fine flyers that have received their first instructions in the vitally needed section of the armed forces."
Lawrence satisfactorily completed the prescribed course of training for pilot (basic single engine) Moore Field, Mission Texas, 18 Apr 1945 to June 1945, Army Air Force Training Company.
Lawrence was at Selman Field, Monroe Louisiana, January 24, 1946
Lawrence treasured a framed card sent to him from Ronald Regan, President of the United States, "To Lawrence Whitney... Thank you for brightening my day. My very best wishes. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan" Lawrence wrote David Puttnam, Pinewood Studios, in 1992, concerning the "Memphis Belle." movie. In reply, David Puttnam wrote Lawrence and said in part: "It was a very difficult film to make, but I can't tell you how delighted I was to receive your comments about it. An enormous amount of research and planning was involved in the production, and your letter clearly shows that this was all worth while.
On the day of the burial of Lawrence at Evergreen Cemetery, Michael Howe, friend of Lawrence, spent many hours with the family, and gave us some interesting information about the Flying Tigers and Lawrence. "It was like an extended family. (The Flying Tigers). Sometimes we were together for two months at a time and so we would hang out together. We knew each other well. Lawrence was a great guy, and I flew with him. Everyone loved him. He was a good pilot. He was a Captain, and I looked up to the older pilots. Lawrence was serious and careful. He was a real gentleman. He shared experiences with me.
From two videos (TRT 35:17 and 17:45) "History of the Flying Tigers," we learned that General Clare Chenault in 1941 led the American Volunteers Group, later know as the Flying Tigers, in the skies over Burma and China to defend the Burma Road from the proud Japanese Air Force. The Flying Tigers were daredevils.......world's largest air freight airline stretching around the globe to 25 countries.....served special transportation need of our government...began as innovation to transportation by Robert Prescott....Nation's first all cargo airline... Prescott said "If you can bring it to the gate, we can fly it.".... began in a two car garage....pioneered shipment of race horses.;.Flying Tiger famous for their "Can Do Spirit"....Federal Express purchased the Flying Tigers.
Plaque presented to Lawrence Whitney, 11883 Paso Robles Ave., Granada Hills, California 91344.. Date of birth 03-28-19: height 71"; weight 230; pounds; hair and eyes brow, has been found properly qualified to exercise the privileges of airline transport pilot; airplane multiengine land, Douglas DC4, DC8, Curtiss-Wright C46; Lockheed Constellation, Canadair CL-44; Comm priv single engine land. 1-06-70.
Plaque presented Lawrence Whitney (retired) In appreciation of your services to the Air Line Pilots Association and the Air Transport industry August 17, 1951, to September 1, 1978. FTL Council #97.
In 1993 he owned his own airplane. Number was N328L, which stood for his birthday of March 28.
Hobbies were playing the organ for his own enjoyment; railroad modeling, photography, and computer skills.
Lawrence died at age 80 on January 7, 2000, at Granada Hills Community Hospital of respiratory arrest. He had suffered from gout and arthritis. He is survived by two sister-in-laws, one sister, and 39 nieces and nephews.Back To Memorials