Murl LeRoy Whattoff was born in Ames, Iowa on July 16, 1921, the youngest son of Joseph and Clara Whattoff. Growing up, he attended Collegiate Presbyterian Church and graduated from Ames High School in 1939. He began working for his father, who owned a filling and service station, and then worked with his brothers at a Studebaker dealership on Lincoln Way.
In 1943, Murl enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He was stationed on Bainbridge Island and in Nebraska during WWII. After his discharge, Murl returned to Ames and built several family-owned businesses with his wife, Wanda Whattoff, who he married in 1954. Together they operated a Dairy King ice cream parlor on Lincoln Way, a mobile home sales office, and built two mobile home parks in Ames.
Murl was deeply devoted to his family and took great joy in his three children, Jon, Sandy and Jenny. His family life was sustained by his faith in God. Murl accepted the Lord as his Savior in 1955 and became an active member of Campus Baptist Church serving as a bus driver, usher, greeter, and sang in the men’s chorus for many years. His quick wit and competitive nature was tempered by his gentle spirit and humor.
A lifelong fan of the Iowa State Cyclones, Murl could often be seen cheering on ISU men’s football and women’s basketball teams. An active athlete, he enjoyed racquetball, golf and cycling. In 1984, he joined a bicycle expedition that rode across the country from Oregon to Virginia.
Murl passed away at 95 years of age on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at Green Hills Health Care Center.
Murl is survived and loved by his wife of 63 years, Wanda Whattoff; his children, Jon (Brenda) Whattoff of Tyler, Texas, Sandy (Ross) Anderson of Ankeny and Jenny (Randy) Klinefelter of Ankeny; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Clara Whattoff; his brothers, Vernard and Donald Whattoff; and his grandsons, Kurt Whattoff and Chris Miller.
His family wishes to thank the medical staff at Green Hills Health Care Center who provided compassionate care for Murl during the last year of his life.
Memorial contributions can be made to RBC Ministries, PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222 or CrossRoad Baptist Church Mission’s Fund, 57011 U.S. 30, Ames, IA 50010