Bruce Nairn Whit­man

Greenwich Time - - OBITUARIES / NEWS -

Bruce Nairn Whit­man, Chair­man, Pres­i­dent & CEO of FlightSafety In­ter­na­tional, passed away peace­fully at his Green­wich, CT home on Oc­to­ber 10th with fam­ily by his side.

Born in New York City on Au­gust 4, 1933 to Ste­wart Lane and Josephine MacQueen Whit­man, he grad­u­ated from Kent School in 1951 and Trin­ity Col­lege in 1955, where he played on the var­sity ten­nis team for three years. While at­tend­ing Trin­ity, Bruce spent two sum­mers as a sea­man with the United States Mer­chant Ma­rine. Af­ter col­lege, he was com­mis­sioned a lieu­tenant in the United States Air Force and earned the triple rat­ings of pilot, nav­i­ga­tor and bom­bardier serv­ing in the Strate­gic Air Com­mand. In 1957, Bruce was ap­pointed As­sis­tant to the Com­man­der, Homestead Air Force Base. Af­ter ac­tive duty, he at­tended Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity Law School for two years. While at GWU, he flew as a Cap­tain for East Coast Fly­ing Ser­vice and was a pilot in the Air Force Re­serve.

Bruce joined FlightSafety In­ter­na­tional in 1961 as As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent af­ter two years as Se­nior Ex­ec­u­tive As­sis­tant with the Na­tional Busi­ness Air­craft As­so­ci­a­tion. Later that year, he was elected Vice Pres­i­dent and a Direc­tor of the com­pany. In 1962, he was named Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent. He was pro­moted to CEO in 2003. Bruce was proud of lead­ing FlightSafety un­til his pass­ing.

Pa­tri­o­tism and sup­port of the mil­i­tary and its vet­er­ans were Bruce’s high­est pas­sions. He was in­stru­men­tal in pass­ing leg­is­la­tion estab­lish­ing that all cur­rent armed forces mem­bers and vet­er­ans, uni­formed or not, may ren­der the mil­i­tary-salute to the United States flag, when it is raised or low­ered, passes by, or when the na­tional an­them is played. He was Chair­man of the Con­gres­sional Medal of Honor Foun­da­tion, a found­ing mem­ber and Trustee of the Na­tional World War II Mu­seum, Chair­man of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan New York USO and a Direc­tor of Busi­ness Ex­ec­u­tives for Na­tional Se­cu­rity. In ad­di­tion to his pa­tri­otic lead­er­ship, Bruce was Pres­i­dent Emer­i­tus of Wings Club Foun­da­tion; and Direc­tor of: Flight Safety Foun­da­tion, Or­bis In­ter­na­tional, Cor­po­rate An­gel Net­work, Civil Air Pa­trol, Smith­so­nian Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum, and the Air Force Academy Fal­con Foun­da­tion. Bruce was a long-time Trustee of Kent School.

Bruce re­ceived many hon­ors in­clud­ing: Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award USO of Met­ro­pol­i­tan New York, Medal of Honor So­ci­ety Dy­namic Lead­er­ship Award, Ex­cep­tional Ser­vice Award Air Force As­so­ci­a­tion, Medaille de l’Aero­nau­tique Repub­lic of France, and the Liv­ing Le­gends of Avi­a­tion Life­time Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Leader Award. He was in­ducted as a Liv­ing Leg­end of Avi­a­tion in 2014.

A de­voted hus­band, fa­ther and grand­fa­ther, Bruce pur­sued a wide va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests. He was an avid col­lec­tor of WWII mem­o­ra­bilia and model air­planes. An ac­com­plished fish­er­man, he most en­joyed trolling for blue­fish and striped bass on Long Is­land Sound in his Ber­tram with fam­ily and friends. An an­nual, per­pet­ual fish­ing tour­na­ment was named in Bruce’s honor as “The Whit­man Cup” at Belle Haven Club in Green­wich, CT, where he served as Com­modore.

Bruce is sur­vived by his wife Sarah “Winki” and his sons Bruce N. Whit­man Jr., Ste­wart L. Whit­man II (Colleen) and John N. Whit­man (Su­san); and Winki’s chil­dren: Wendy Miller (David), Christy Tripp and Ted Walther (Abel). Bruce is also sur­vived by his grand­chil­dren: Su­san Sam Whit­man, Kath­leen Whit­man, Denise “Didi” Whit­man, Lane Whit­man, Ju­liann Whit­man, Natalie Whit­man and So­nia Whit­man; and Winki’s grand­chil­dren: Alex Tripp, Ben Tripp, Trey Miller and Grady Miller; great grand­child Stone; and sis­ter Josephine Gray.

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