Tim Whitney

January 30, 2012

Timothy Tobin Whitney, Grand Canyon boatman and owner of Rivers & Oceans, A Travel Company, died January 30, 2012 at home surrounded by his brothers, sister, and wife, Pam.

Tim was born in Middletown, Connecticut on July 7, 1950, the third of four children of William & Millicent Whitney of Essex, Connecticut. His backyard was the Connecticut River, which marked the beginning of his lifelong love affair with fresh and salt water. Tim’s youth was spent learning to sail; exploring all the coves along the river as well as the waters of the Long Island Sound. His family moved from Connecticut to Canada, then ending up in Wisconsin for a period of time. This is where Tim graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It was also where Tim learned to dive, under the less than ideal conditions, in Lake Superior. He loved it. The newly learned skill was used to explore the springs of Florida over several winters. During that time he added underwater photography expertise to his outdoorsman’s resume. Tim was co-photographer on a book, The Springs of Florida, which came out of those travels.

Tim’s introduction to the West happened when his father gave the boys the family station wagon and an AAA TripTik; sending them off to find their way to family in Phoenix. It was the first time Tim laid eyes upon Arizona and the Colorado River. The rest is history. Tim started his river career under the tutelage of his brother, quickly becoming a boatman in his own right. He guided countless numbers of people down the river on more than 200 trips. His final trip was in September with a close-knit group of long-time friends and family. Beyond the Grand Canyon, Tim spent time guiding internationally in Papua New Guinea, the Omo River in Ethiopia, and many other beautiful, wondrous locations.

His dedication to the river community was boundless. Among other activities, Tim was a founding board member of Grand Canyon River Guides and past president of The Whale Foundation; causes he believed in and supported with the passion that marked his life.

In 1984 Tim met his soul mate, future wife and best friend Pam in Marble Canyon, Arizona. The story he so loved to tell was that Pam was his boss. They started Rivers & Oceans, A Travel Company together in 1987 and moved to Flagstaff in 1988. They were married on January 7, 1989. They shared a life of fun and laughter on the river, traveling around the world diving, and exploring. As a couple, they have been diving in almost all the oceans of the world from Borneo to Baja.

Words that have been used by friends and family to describe Tim are: welcoming, authentic, curious, conscious, humble, dedicated, a gentleman, committed, generous, a mentor and loving. He was interested in people and it showed. He touched many lives as a river guide but it was in his day to day life where he made a lasting impression on friends and family.

Tim was predeceased by his parents William & Millicent Whitney. He is survived by his wife Pam, his brother Larry (Kaye) Whitney of Benicia, CA, his brother Bob (Kathy) Whitney of New Hope, PA, his sister Anne (George) Yarnall of New Hope, PA as well as ten nieces and nephews, many cousins, and other family members.

We will celebrate his life in Flagstaff in June. Further information about date and time will be made available in the near future. A family celebration will also take place in Northfield, Massachusetts sometime in August.