Jack Whitaker, a Montco (and Philly) legend, dies at 95

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The bowling center named for Jack Whitaker and fellow broadcaster John Facenda, Facenda-Whitaker Lanes, still stands strong today, but recently underwent a name change to Our Town Alley. (MONTCO.Today)
By Mark Schiele
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Maybe you remember him calling The Masters. Maybe calling Secretariat’s thrilling Triple Crown victory. Oh, and then there were Super Bowls. And many events and evening newscasts in between.
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The Philadelphia area lost at legend Sunday when Jack Whitaker died in Devon at age 95. And so did Montgomery County.
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Younger people might not connect with the name right away.
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To today’s youth, it’s more affiliated with the East Norriton bowling center that joins his name with another legendary broadcaster – John Facenda (aka The Voice of God). That is Facenda Whitaker Lanes. The two created the place.
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“The golf world lost one of its most brilliant television commentators with the death of Jack Whitaker,” said longtime (Norristown) Times Herald Sports Editor Tony Leodora, host of Golf Talk Live and The Traveling Golfer.
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“He was a product of Philadelphia – he left his mark on the entire area. He played golf at Bala Golf Club, lived for many years in Devon and was the emcee when Llanerch Country Club held a spectacular 50th anniversary of its historic 1958 PGA Championship in 2008. Although he covered Super Bowls and horse racing’s Triple Crown events, Whitaker was most known for his Masters essays from Augusta National. He wrote them all personally, and showed that he was the brightest beacon in television journalism.”
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Whitaker was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1941 and Saint Joseph’s University in 1947.
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The bowling center named for him and fellow broadcaster Facenda still stands strong today, but recently underwent a name change to Our Town Alley, and the attached Steppy’s is now called 2912 Eatery & Bar.
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Whitaker won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host or Commentator in 1979, for writing in 1990 and the Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. and received the Maryland Jockey Club’s Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of thoroughbred racing. He was named “Best Announcer” by Sports Illustrated in 1976. He was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1997, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Saint Joseph’s University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He received a Sports Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
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