Renette Cheeke Whitmire was born on April 18, 1927, in Barrow County and passed away on April 29, 2020, at the age of 93, following a period of declining health. Renette was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Winfred Norman Whitmire, and her parents, Pauline Johnson Cheeke and Ellis Sylvester Cheeke. She is survived by her son, Ronald Norman Whitmire, M.D. and his wife Carol Dixon Whitmire; her daughter Marybeth (Betsy) Whitmire Hegerty and Betsy’s husband Gregory Lee Thomas; her grandchildren Amy Whitmire Boyd, M.D. (husband William Bradley Boyd, M.D.), Julie Whitmire Cooper (husband Russell Scott Cooper); Brian Winfred Hegerty (wife Shanna Adams Hegerty), Matthew Maximillian Hegerty (wife Michelle Cannon Hegerty), and Mary Margaret Hegerty. Renette is also survived by eight great-grandchildren: Caroline Cooper, Lauren Cooper, William Boyd, Andrew Boyd, Catherine Boyd, Ingrid Hegerty, Ellie Hegerty, and Graham Hegerty. She is also survived by her sister Jacquelyn Cheeke Pardue (Jackie) and her brother-in-law James Larry Pardue (Larry) and many beloved nieces, nephews, and their families. We extend our special gratitude to JoAnn Martin, her special friend and helper these past few years.
Renette and her family moved from Barrow County to Gainesville in 1936, just after the tornado, when Renette was nine years old. She attended school in Gainesville and graduated from Lyman Hall in 1944. After Renette completed training to be a hairdresser, she married her high school sweetheart, Winfred Norman Whitmire. They moved to Chicopee and both of them worked in the cotton mill until Renette opened her own beauty salon in Chicopee Village, and Wint purchased the drug store there. Their son Ronnie was born in 1947 and spent his early years in Chicopee Village as well. Renette always looked back on her years in Chicopee as some of her happiest years and made many lifelong friends during this time.
While those years in Chicopee were special for their young family, in 1953 they moved to Gainesville to pursue new career opportunities. Renette began working at Ruth’s House of Beauty and really enjoyed her work there, while Wint began a new career in insurance sales. After their daughter Betsy was born in 1957, Renette gradually became a full-time mother and homemaker for the next season of her life. She enjoyed cooking and had more time to devote to her children, as well as two of her lifelong passions, reading and learning. She always kept an unabridged dictionary by her side to make sure her reading was also accompanied by learning. She enjoyed spending time reading classic works of literature, Greek philosophy, and learning more about words.
As Ronnie and Betsy grew older, Renette decided to pursue a new challenge and study real estate. She studied for months, which enabled her to pass her boards and get her license. Renette was always driven to do her absolute best in all of her endeavors, and real estate was no exception. With no previous sales experience, but with a strong background in customer service, she began her real estate career with enthusiasm and commitment. The result was 25 years of superior accomplishments in real estate sales with the Norton Agency, and eight years as Norton’s Number One Agent. Each client knew she was dedicated to the success of the transaction, and they appreciated that trust and diligence. In order to achieve professionalism in the real estate field, Renette attended and completed many advanced educational courses, GRI, CRS, RELO, and was an active participant in state affairs. She was a Phoenix Member of the Hall County Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club. While with the Norton Agency, she was recognized for achievements as the Top Sales and Listing Agent and was Realtor of the Year for the company twice. She was the first independent producer to achieve ten consecutive years of the Million Dollar Club. To say she loved the real estate profession may be an understatement--she lived it full-time. Outside of her family, her time in real estate clearly defined her adult life. She truly enjoyed helping people buy and sell their homes.
Renette retired from real estate at age 70 and immersed herself in reading and study again. She was a member of the Gainesville First United Methodist Church for sixty years and devoted herself to Bible study and Bible study courses at church. She took every Disciple course the church offered. When she had completed the courses offered, she repeated them and read the Bible in its entirety at least twice following her retirement. Her breakfast room table was covered with Bibles, atlases of the Holy Land and Middle East, and other reference works regarding the Bible and religion. She truly loved this fulfilling Biblical odyssey and took comfort in the scriptures until the end of her life, taking pleasure in hearing her family members and friends reading devotionals and scripture to her when she could no longer read them for herself.
In 2011, after some health challenges, Renette began the final phase of her life when she moved to the Oaks on Limestone. There she received excellent care and rehabilitation, which allowed her to enjoy good quality of life and the company of her family, friends, and great-grandchildren for many more years.
A graveside service for family will be held on Saturday, May 2nd. The family plans to have a celebration of life service for Renette at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Gainesville First United Methodist Church at 2780 Thompson Bridge Road; Gainesville, GA 30506.
Those wishing to send online condolences may do so at littledavenport.com.
Little & Davenport Funeral Home, 365 Dawsonville Highway, S.W., Gainesville, GA 30501 in charge of arrangements.