Russ Whitaker
17 July 1946 – 2 June 2012

Suddenly, on June 2nd 2012 aged 65 years, Russ, beloved husband of Andrea, much loved father of Colin and Eleanor, father-in-law to Claire and Garry, a loving Grandad of Eva and Zak and a dear brother of the late Chris.  Will be loved and remembered always by family and friends.

Russ was born in 1946, joined BAC as a student apprentice and gained a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering at Salford University.  He joined the Wind Tunnel Department and spent the next 30+ years working there before becoming Manager of the High Speed Tunnel.  His time spent in the Wind Tunnel Department were both exciting and rewarding and were always remembered by him as the ‘glory’ years of BAC/BAe which gave him the opportunity to work alongside many talented engineers and on projects the like of which will never be seen again.

Russ at the Washington Aerospace Museum Happy days on holiday

Russ was married to Andrea in July1970 following a childhood romance and they have been happily married ever since.  They have two children, Colin and Eleanor, who are married to Claire and Garry respectively.  Colin and Claire have two children: Eva aged 6 and Zak aged 4.  They are a very close family and Russ was always immensely proud of them all.

Andrea and Russ with friends Debbie and Paul Russ and Andrea with their Grandchildren – Eva and Zak

In 2000 he was given an opportunity for early retirement which was too good to refuse and so, after more than 30 years with company, he left at the age of 54. Russ was always a keen sportsman with a particular interest in badminton.  He decided to complete a Personal Training course at Blackpool College and also a formal badminton coaching course, both of which stood him in good stead for what quickly became his passion throughout the remainder of his life.

Old Wind Tunnel work colleagues: Dennis Leyland, Russ, Eric Greening, Alan Owen

He will be remembered as one of the founder players of the Kingfisher Badminton club during the 1980’s, before then becoming a member of the Lidunians Badminton club in the early 90’s.  He continued playing for the Lidunians and played a pivotal role in its management as club secretary and coach.  He also took great delight in coaching school children throughout the Fylde, running organised coaching sessions at many Blackpool and Fylde schools.  There are many excellent young players on the Fylde Coast who owe their early development in the sport to Russ’s encouragement, coaching ability and overwhelming enthusiasm for the sport.

Russ with wife Andrea, son Colin and daughter Eleanor

Russ will be remembered for many things: his sense of humour and his enthusiasm for everything he got involved in, his friendship, his technical capability, his desire to help young people and, above all, his total dedication and love for his family.

Paul Whiteside, June 2012
 (I retired from BAe Systems 3 years ago after 43 years, mainly in Systems, although my last job was looking after all test facilities across Warton, Woodford and Brough so I did get to know many of Russ's work colleagues during that time).