Claire A. Whitesell, Jr., 78, died Tuesday, March 22, 2011 following a period of declining health. He was born in Willow Grove, PA on April 17, 1932 and was the son of the late Claire A. Whitesell, Sr. and Mary Cecelia Datig Whitesell. Claire retired from Eastern Airlines as an airline captain and was a member of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.Surviving are his wife, C. "Toni" Mize Whitesell, of the home; sons, Joseph Whitesell of Shelby Township, MI and David Whitesell and wife, Jill, of Watkinsville, GA; daughters, Elizabeth "Liz" Grant and husband, Gary, of Columbus, GA, Kathy Whitesell and Debby Whitesell, of the home; grandchildren, Marni Jennings, Michael Grant, Christopher, Joshua, Cameron, Mattie, Callie, and Emma Whitesell; and great-grandchildren, Patrick and Paige Jennings.In addition to his parents, Claire was preceded in death by a brother, Joseph A. Whitesell.The funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2011, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church with Father Becket Soule officiating. The family will receive friends at the church one hour before the service. At other times the family will be at the residence. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 728 W. Union St., Morganton, NC 28655 or to House of Refuge, PO Box 1370, Morganton, NC 28680. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting with arrangements.

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