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Published: Tuesday, 4/24/2001

Banker was among area's best golfers

BOWLING GREEN - Eric Whitson, 47, vice president of lending for Sky Bank and a local golf champion, died Sunday in Wood County Hospital.

He died of a blood clot just hours after he first felt ill while playing golf, his wife, Jean said.

Mr. Whitson spent his career in banking, starting with Capital Financial Services in Toledo, writing small loans. Then he was employed with BarclaysAmerican/Financial and he was named branch manager of its Maumee office in 1985 after being assistant manager of its Northwood office.

From there, he went to First Federal Savings & Loan of Wood County as a loan officer and worked his way up to vice president. It became part of Mid Am Bank. “I think he liked the interaction with the people, helping them buy a new home, reach their goal,” his wife said.

He had most recently worked with commercial lending at the bank, which changed its name to Sky. He was treasurer of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation in an effort to encourage small business development in the area, his wife said.

Mr. Whitson represented parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan at the National Public Links tournaments in 1979 and 1980.

He was the Toledo Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year in 1980 and repeated the honor in 1981. He had joined the Toledo Metro circuit in 1977.

He told The Blade in 1980 that his strength was in his driving and his iron play. Putting, he said, was his detriment, but was the noted skill of his brother Dick, who won the Toledo Amateur that year.

He told his father, George, that he felt golf was one of the few sports that - if played fair - ended in heartfelt congratulations all around, no matter the outcome.

He was a former club champion at the Bowling Green Country Club, which he considered his home course for about 15 years. He golfed about three times a week from April to October.

The son of recreational golfers, he learned to play at age 11 and lettered in golf at Hillsdale High School and played at Hillsdale College. In addition to being assistant fire chief in Hillsdale, his father worked at the White Oaks Golf Club just south of Hillsdale.

Mr. Whitson graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1971, received an associate degree in business from Jackson Community College, then continued his business studies at Hillsdale College, graduating in 1976.

He married the former Jean Mahler in 1978 and moved from Toledo to Bowling Green.

Surviving are his wife, Jean; son, Andrew; daughters, Tamara and Sara; parents, George and Catherine; brothers, Richard and Alan, and sister, Kristine Giddens.

The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Dunn Funeral Home, Bowling Green, where visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the American Heart Association or a charity of the donor's choice.

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