The Reverend Walter Allen Whitehurst, 86, died Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Virginia Beach. He was a retired United Methodist pastor. A native of Pungo, he was the son of John Walter and Elsie Mae (Williams) Whitehurst.
He attended Creeds Elementary School and Oceana High School, graduating in 1951. He received his B.A. degree from Randolph-Macon College in 1955, served as a missionary in Chile for three years and graduated from Duke Divinity School in 1961.
Walt founded the Princess Anne Plaza United Methodist Church while also serving as pastor of Lynnhaven UMC, Virginia Beach, 1961 to 1963. From there, he went to Annandale UMC as associate pastor and in 1966, he and his family went to Chile as missionaries. They returned to Virginia in 1971 and he served as pastor of Providence-Whites Charge, Rustburg; Main Street UMC, Bedford; First UMC, Hopewell; Stratford Hills UMC, Richmond; and Community UMC, Virginia Beach (Kempsville).
In 1995, Walt became director of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He retired from that position in 1999, and he and his wife Betty returned to his beloved Pungo. In retirement, Walt served as associate pastor at his home church, Charity United Methodist, 2001 to 2006. He was also a consultant for Individual Volunteers with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, 1999 to 2005.
After retiring from the Individual Volunteer program, Walt and Betty wrote a book, Following God’s Call: Individual Volunteers in Mission about the experiences of many of the volunteer missionaries they had helped recruit, train and send. He later wrote five books known as the Pungo Tales series and loved selling his books at the Pungo Strawberry Festival and local venues. Walt served on the Virginia Beach Historic Review Board, where he was a strong advocate for Pungo Village preservation.
Walt is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betty Campbell Whitehurst; sons, Rev. David Whitehurst, and his wife, Cherie, of Bedford and Bruce Whitehurst, and his wife, Genise, of Richmond; daughter, Monica Whitehurst of Chesapeake; five grandchildren, Alison Whitehurst Martin (Alex) and Anne Whitehurst Cantrell (Henry); grandson, Carson Whitehurst; granddaughters, Cameron and Caroline Whitehurst; two great-grandsons, Levi Cantrell and Blake Martin; sister, Elizabeth Whitehurst Bergesen of Virginia Beach. He was preceded in death by his sister, Reba Whitehurst Thompson.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 9, at Charity United Methodist Church, 4080 Charity Neck Road, Virginia Beach, with the Rev. David Ryu officiating. The family will receive friends immediately after the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Charity UMC Memorial Fund, 4080 Charity Neck Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23457.
Share online condolences with the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory.