School 31
Official Obituary of

Margaret Ellen Brightman Whitmer

December 9, 1927 ~ May 8, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Margaret Brightman Whitmer Obituary

Margaret Ellen Brightman Whitmer passed away peacefully on May 8, 2023 at age 95. She had a remarkable life, filled with triumph and tragedy. Marnie was born on December 9, 1927, the third child of Alvin C. Brightman, the first professor of contract law at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and of Esther Waite Brightman, herself a college-educated daughter of educators: a superintendent of Schools and a teacher. Marnie attended Shaw High School where she played flute in the high school marching band, and when World War II arrived, she worked in factories making materiel for the war. After the war ended, she attended Flora Stone Mather College and in 1947 married Clair Whitmer, who was a law student at Western Reserve on the GI Bill. They had six children, but the second child, Margaret, known as Peggy, died of leukemia at age 6. Clair and Marnie were enthusiastic boosters of their community, volunteering to raise money for the United Fund and supporting the arts and education. As a parent, Marnie was known to be unwavering in her support for all her children’s endeavors. In 1970, Marnie reached a cherished milestone when she herself graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in teaching. After Clair died suddenly of a heart attack, Marnie began a 20-year teaching career in Akron Public Schools, retiring in 1998. Her retirement was filled with new adventures: she became a weightlifter, practiced Taekwondo, traveled on tours with Road Scholars, and created a scholarship fund for disadvantaged students at the University of Akron.

Marnie is predeceased by her daughter Margaret, husband Clair and son Robert.

She is survived by daughter Claire Whitmer (Robert Steiner), their children: Marc Steiner (Christine) and grandchildren Colin and Charlotte, Katie Koenig (Max); Mary Whitmer; Dorothy Whitmer (Randall Johnson), their children: Regan Bergmark (Brian) and grandsons Blaise, Axel and Everett, Kara Wegermann (Zachary) and granddaughters Ingrid and Ilsa; and Charles Whitmer (Laurie), their children: Grant and Shannon.

Services will be held privately. Donations can be made to The Marnie Whitmer Endowed Student Scholarship at the University of Akron. 

Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N Miller Road  Akron, OH  44333.

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