Homer B. Whiting
June 14, 1895 - May 23, 1937
The Hampton Union and Rockingham County Gazette,
Thursday, May 27, 1937
Former Chief Homer B. Whiting passed away Sunday morning at the Hale hospital in Haverhill, of pneumonia following an operation for appendicitis, at the age of 42. For the past 12 years Mr. Whiting has been chief of the Hampton Beach Fire Department which he has built from a mere shell to one of the best in the State.
The former chief submitted to the operation a week ago. Saturday having been removed from his home to the Haverhill hospital.
About three hours before his death, when his condition became so grave that no hope was entertained for his recovery, his 72-year old mother, Mrs. Ina E. Whiting, wife of George N. Whiting, retired deputy chief of the Haverhill fire department, residing at 49 Buttonwoods avenue, Haverhill, was removed on a hospital cot from the Hale Hospital, where she has been confined with illness, to the bedside of her son.
His mother underwent a serious operation about two weeks ago at the Hale Hospital and when she learned of the serious condition of her son following his operation, requested that she be given an opportunity to see him. Her request was granted when attending physicians were satisfied that there was no chance for the former chief to rally.
Homer B. Whiting was born in Haverhill on June 14, 1895, the son of George N. and Ina E. Whiting, attended the Haverhill schools and also a trade school in Lawrence. For several years previous to his appointment to the Haverhill department, he was employed by the New England Telephone and Telegraph Co., and also took care of the fire alarm telegraph and automatic systems in Haverhill. He was proprietor of Whiting's Express Co., an enterprise which he personally directed for a time.
Mr. Whiting was made a permanent member of the Haverhill department when the two-platoon system went into effect in 1920, having been chosen on Feb. 2 of that year. Throughout this connection with the department he was located at the Central fire house. Upon the death of Lloyd Walker, chief's driver, who was killed in an accident in May, 1923, Mr. Whiting served as chief's driver for about two months. When the new Seagrave aerial ladder was added to the apparatus of the Haverhill department, he was assigned as one of the drivers of the ladder.
While he held the latter position Mr. Whiting was granted a leave of absence from the Haverhill department and it was during that time that he visited Hampton and accepted a position as chief of the Hampton Beach fire department. September 30, 1924, he resigned as a member of the Haverhill department.
He was a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs as well as the New England Massachusetts and New Hampshire association. He was a Mason and a member of the Jr. O. U. A. M. Besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George N. Whiting of Haverhill, he leaves a wife residing in California. His father is a retired deputy chief of the Haverhill department.
Through the passing to the great beyond of Homer B. Whiting, Hampton loses a conscientious and earnest worker in the field in which he was so intensely interested.
Though removed recently from the position as chief of a fire department second to none, and which he had built himself to its present high rating, his knowledge of the inner workings of the department and experience of many years could still have been sought out and would have been given cheerfully, as a citizen, if not as a fire fighter.
Through long and careful study of fire department requirements, Homer B. Whiting had attained a knowledge of how to do things, of which few people take time to acquaint themselves. He aimed to have the best for his department and to have each piece of machinery and apparatus in perfect condition.
Though many times restrained by those who did not understand the principles of his hoped-for improvements, he cheerfully set about the task to show what benefits might be derived from what many termed "radical changes". His heart was in his work and the condition of Hampton's Fire Department will show how well he had succeeded.
Homer B. Whiting had hosts of friends in every walk of life who mourn his loss and who will miss his cheerful greeting they have enjoyed through his twelve years as a citizen of Hampton. From outward appearances he did not seem to care about his own welfare, but the criticisms of his work cut deep into his courageous nature. However, his efforts were not all in vain, for the Hampton Fire Department stands as a monument of his work and as a foundation on which to build for years to come.
Hampton and Hampton Beach will realize as time goes on how great is the loss of an able and efficient Fire Chief and how hard it will be to fill the vacancy.