Barry Whittaker, an employee of the City of Albany who oversaw major public construction projects, passed away from a car accident recently.
69-year-old Whittaker was riding his bike at a street crossing in Hercules City when he hit into a car on a recent Monday, according to Ann Chaney, Director of Community Development Department of Albany.
Whittaker fell into a coma and passed away two days later. His fellow workers were shocked at the news. Whittaker had a heart surgery a few weeks before the car accident and was recovering from it.
“I saw him in hospital and he was standing and looking pretty good, ” said Chaney. “I was absolutely shocked when I got to know that he was gone from us.”
Whittaker had worked for Albany for almost a decade, supervising the contruction of a variety of public projects in the city, including the Civic Center Renovation, a multi-millon dollar project that is expected to be completed soon.
Co-workers said Wittaker was very responsible and detail-oriented towards his work. Many mourned his sudden death.
“Barry and I had been corresponding over the past several weeks, sharing our stories and also joking about how we would meet back at Civic Center over the summer when we got back to work, ” said Judy Lieberman, Assistant City Administrator, in an email message.
“I considered Barry a mentor and a feisty friend, never afraid to speak his mind. I will miss him so much, but hopefully remember so much of what he taught me, ” she added.
City Administrator Beth Pollard announced Wittaker’s death at a City Council meeting last Monday, and Councilmembers expressed their appreciation to Wittaker’s contribution to the city.
“Barry was like one of those ordinary people, who once you got to know them stood out from the crowd,” said Vice Mayor and Councilmember Joanne Wile.
A memorial service for Wittaker will be held on Saturday, June 13th at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Avenue, at 12:30 PM.
Article by Linjun Fan.