Whitaker, Isabel Ewing

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Isabel Ewing Whitaker, beloved sister of Royall Whitaker and mother of Alex, Arthur and Tom Rodriguez died at age 84 on Saturday, April 23, 2011 surrounded by her loving family, in the comfort of her son Arthur’s home in Floyd, Virginia. Isabel was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and was cherished by her family and friends.

Isabel was born on May 23, 1926 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Arthur Preston Whitaker, university professor, and Alix P. Fields, dancer and puppeteer. Raised in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Isabel married Alexander Martin Rodriguez in 1953, and went on to build a life as a Dancer, Teacher, Writer and Poet. She danced Flamenco professionally in New York City during her twenties, and went on to teach Flamenco and ballroom dancing well into her seventies.

A 7th grade English teacher in the Delaware public school system for two decades, Isabel retired at age 65 to pursue a Master’s degree in English as a Second Language. As an encore career, Isabel taught English to foreign exchange students of all ages through the English Language Institute in Newark, Delaware until retiring, again, at age 81 and resettling in tranquil Southwest Virginia.

Isabel wrote stories and poetry throughout her life, becoming prolific during her retirement years. Her works include a children’s book, two murder mysteries, and countless poems which she lovingly assembled into two anthologies for the enjoyment of her family.

Isabel was an articulate public speaker and during her retirement she was an active member of Toastmasters, through which she won numerous awards for her entertaining and poignant words that could quickly move an audience from laughter to tears and back again.

Isabel Whitaker devoted her life to teaching English and was an advocate for literacy. Her family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her honor to Literacy Volunteers of America, Caldwell College Office, 11 Ryerson Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006.

Services will be private. Inquiries and communication with Isabel’s family may be directed to Maberry Funeral Home, P.O. Box 133, Floyd, VA 24091, (540)745-2121.