Memphis, Tenn. (6.17.13) Mrs. Rowena H. Whiting, who bought Memphis musician Kenny DeWalt his first trombone and foresaw his success nationally when he was a beginning musician, has died. She was 82.
She died Sunday of respiratory failure at Baptist Memorial Hospital, according to Regina Burns, one of her daughters.
DeWalt, who has played for numerous stars including “Johnny Taylor, The Temptations, The Bar-Kays (plus) Al Green and recorded with Mary J. Blige,” said when his aunt told him he would be on “The Tonight Show” he laughed. But years later in 2003, he called her from California after he played for Al Green on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Services Tuesday (6.18.13) will be held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd. Visitation is scheduled for 4 p.m. with the funeral starting at 5 p.m. Burial is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday (6.19.13) at New Park Cemetery, 4536 Horn Lake Road.
Mrs. Whiting was the former wife of the late Prince Whiting Jr. In addition to Burns, her children are Darryl A. Whiting Sr. of Jacksonville, Fla. and Marla Whiting of Memphis. Derrick A. Whiting Sr. predeceased her in 2004 at age 41.
Mrs. Whiting formerly worked at the then-Armour Packing Co. Her late parents, Alon Etta Vaughn-Hooks and John Hooks, were sharecroppers in Clarkedale, Ark., where she was born. Her siblings included Daisy Tanner, Rosemary DeWalt and a brother, who each predeceased her.
She leaves eight grandchildren: Derrick A. Whiting Jr., Tolissia Whiting, Joshua D. Whiting, Zephaniah D. Whiting, London Pierce, LaDarius Pierce, Darryl Whiting Jr. and Darius Whiting. Granddaughter Daphne Whiting predeceased her.