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On June 11, 2023, Doc completed his project here on Earth and passed to eternity in the arms of Jesus. We imagine he was greeted in Heaven by his loving wife, Frances, and all those loved ones and friends who went before him. In the spirit of the way that he lived his life, we like to think there must be a large family gathering — with a fish fry followed by an evening bonfire complete with camaraderie and storytelling.   

Prior to an injury, which occurred about a week before, Doc was in good health and amazed us all with his stamina and passion for working, fishing, and trapping at the age of 98. He was active and engaged until the very end. He is survived by his daughter, Connie Lee Whitman of San Angelo, who lovingly cared for him (and Frances) in their later years.  

Carey was born September 5, 1924, to William Leon and Elizabeth Grace Whitman. They lived about halfway between the communities of Pleasant Valley and Smithwick near Marble Falls. As children, Doc and his older sister, Doris, walked to school in Pleasant Valley and completed high school in Marble Falls. Doc graduated salutatorian in 1942 and joined the Navy shortly thereafter to become a parachute rigger based in the Aleutian Islands. 

After World War II and a brief stint of ranching, he became a River Rider with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working on the Aftosa (black leg) cattle quarantine. Doc joined the Border Patrol on May 2, 1955, and married Frances Ann Stewart. They lived and worked in Marfa, Texas, for most of their lives and spent their latter years in San Angelo near Connie.   

Doc’s early years in the Border Patrol were spent on horseback, patrolling long stretches of the Rio Grande River. As described in Buck Newsome’s book “Shod with Iron,” Doc was one of a group of tough, larger-than-life characters, not unlike the legendary lawmen of Western novels. He could ride, track, run, and catch most anything he set his mind to — and handle it appropriately once caught.  

After retiring at the age of 55, Doc diverted that toughness to working on his own properties and helping others with whatever needed doing. From catching renegade cattle to trapping skunks in downtown Marfa, he was always there to help a friend. He was also very creative and handy with tools, as demonstrated by the beautiful furniture and fur coats he fabricated from scratch. 

While his toughness, creativity, and longevity were hallmarks, Doc also had a kind and loving spirit. Not long after his retirement, he spent the better part of a year helping his sister personally provide hospice care for their dying mother.  His heartfelt prayers at family gatherings will also always be remembered. 

We count it a privilege to have known Doc and been in his company. While he will be missed, his life was Full to the Brim and we know his actions prepared him well for what lies ahead.