Jerry D. Whatley

Date of Death

August 13, 2013

Jerry D. Whatley, age 76, passed away peacefully on August 23, 2013, at Serenity House with his daughter by his side. Jerry was born in Midland, Arkansas to the late Tomas A. Whatley and Edna (Peters) Whatley. He graduated from Fresno High School, and served in the Army in Korea before marrying in 1958 and attending CSU Fresno. He graduated with a BA in political science, and earned a JD at USC before moving to Santa Barbara in 1966 with his wife and two young daughters. Jerry was a prominent criminal defense attorney, the “great American trial lawyer” (GATL), and he lived life to the fullest. In the later years Jerry worked as court appointed appellate defense counsel. Jerry is survived by his ex-wife and lifelong companion Bonita Whatley of Santa Barbara, brothers Thomas A. Whatley Jr. of Northridge, and Robert A. Ressl of Arlington TX, daughter Sylvia Whatley Beckham (John) of Ojai, son John Peters Whatley of Stanton, and four grandchildren: Spencer, Jeremy, and Abigail Fenczik, and Jefferson Beckham. Jerry was preceded in death by daughter Gail Jeanette Fenczik. No services are planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Serenity House or Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.


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