Meet the FGI Board: Punkie Whitely
April 11, 2017
Do you have a nickname that stuck permanently? Maybe? Current 12-year Board Member, Punkie Whitely has. Punkie (given name Doris) got her nickname Punkie from her grandfather who started calling her “Punkins,” which turned into Punkie by the time she was three-weeks-old and it stuck. Even her college professors at William & Mary called her Punkie.
Punkie is a well-traveled gal, hailing from a Navy family. Her grandfather, father, husband and son were all career Naval Officers, which meant that Punkie was able to see many countries and states. She was born in San Diego, CA, and by three months old, she was heading to China to meet her father. Her father was a Navy submariner during World War II, and Punkie reports that she and her mother were on the last ship out of China with foreign nationals before the war began. As you can imagine being the daughter of a military man, Punkie moved around A LOT and attended many schools, including four high schools. By the time she got married, she had visited every state in the Union!
As mentioned Punkie continued the Navy life and married a man who, too, was in the Navy. They were married 28 years and had two children, John and Polly. Punkie was a very active military wife and was always taking care of the wives of the active duty personnel on her husband’s ships. While the family was living in Yokosuka, Japan, Punkie taught conversational English to Japanese Naval officers and Petty Officers who would be coming to the United States to attend military training schools. Punkie said she felt she had the best of both worlds at this time because she lived on the military base and had nice accommodations, but then could go into town and shop for local goods. However, as is the case in the military, it was soon time to move again, and Punkie took care of most of their moves on her own.
As you can probably tell by now, Punkie doesn’t stay still for long. She is always busy – usually helping others. Even her careers involved helping people, working as a teacher, taking care of military wives, and her work at the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Visitors & Convention Bureau in California. Punkie’s work in Monterey introduced her to the work of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the Monterey Peninsula Gateway. She regularly hired them to complete packaging and shrink wrapping projects for the Chamber and the Visitors Bureau.
The livin’ in California was easy as they say, but Punkie’s family wanted her to be close to them in Colorado. The Fort Collins area was an easy sell for Punkie as her daughter Polly and her son-in-law Gary Reardon reside in Wellington. Her son John was a naval officer killed in a mid-air collision. However, her daughter-in-law Lori has kept Punkie in her family and now resides in Fort Collins with her husband Randy Haskett. Punkie is a very proud grandmother and great grandmother – spending a great deal of time with all her family.
Punkie Joins Foothills Gateway
When Punkie moved to Fort Collins, she learned about Foothills Gateway, which took her back to fond memories of all the wonderful people whom she had known at the Monterey Peninsula Gateway in Monterey, CA. Punkie became involved with the Fort Collins Service League after finding out that they were supporters of Foothills Gateway. She was President of the Service League four times in her 20 years of service before the Fort Collins Service League was absorbed by the Foothills Service League of Loveland. Punkie continues her service as a Supportive Member of the Foothills Service League participating in events like the Christmas Gift Shop here at Foothills Gateway.
Punkie’s connection with the Service League was her introduction to the Board of Directors. Little did she know 12 years later she would still be on the board and serving on the Joint Resource Committee, which coordinates, develops and undertakes long-range fund development planning for Foothills Gateway. Punkie states she loves serving on the board and feels it is both an honor and a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors.
When Punkie isn’t supporting FGI, she enjoys quilting and reading, enjoying “history and current political books the most.” Punkie continues to travel and visits her sister who resides in Monterey, CA, as well as many of her Navy friends that live up and down both the East and West coasts.
“I have Navy friends all over the country, but the largest majority are in San Diego and Monterey, California. Of course, there are large numbers of them in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area too. I am just happy to see them when I can. Many have been close friends for more than 50 years,” Punkie explained.
We are fortunate to have an active and energetic board member such as Punkie. As you have probably learned by now, her nickname fits her perfectly!