Thomas K. Whitesel, Army officer

May 14, 2013

Thomas K. Whitesel, 81, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served two combat tours in Vietnam, died of cancer May 3 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. He lived in Springfield.

His daughter, Laura Killion, confirmed his death.

Col. Whitesel began his 25-year military career upon graduation from the Virginia Military Institute in 1953. His overseas postings included the Korean Peninsula in the 1970s. He retired after five years as a materiel officer posted in Alexandria.

His decorations included the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

In retirement, Col. Whitesel worked five years for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and 20 years as a financial administrator with the Christmas Attic of Old Town in Alexandria, a store owned by his wife.

Thomas Kelly Whitesel was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where his father was serving as a Marine Corps officer. He grew up at military posts around the world.

His first wife, Ann Cooper Whitesel, died in 1983 after 29 years of marriage. His second wife, Nita Fay Hobbs, died in 2007 after a 22-year marriage.

Survivors include his companion of four years, Kathie Featherstone of Springfield; three children from his first marriage, Thomas Whitesel of Minneapolis, Elizabeth Parrott of Asheville, N.C., and Laura Killion of Raleigh, N.C.; two stepdaughters, Fay Carter of Alexandria and Cheri Hennesy of Fairfax County; 11 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Bart Barnes