W. E. Whetstone

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William Edwin "Ed" Whetstone
Louisiana Board of Education member W.E. Whetstone of Monroe
Member, Louisiana State Board of Education from Fifth Congressional District
In office
1962–1974
Personal details
Born (1908-08-29)August 29, 1908
Oak Ridge
Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died February 28, 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 78)
Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Resting place Oak Ridge Cemetery,
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Josephine Elizabeth Hudson Whetstone (1911-1984, married 1931-her death)
Children Eddie Craig Whetstone (born 1932)
Occupation Businessman; telephone executive
Religion Methodist

William Edwin "Ed" Whetstone (August 29, 1908—February 28, 1987) was a businessman and civic leader from Monroe, the seat of Ouachita Parish in northeast Louisiana, who served as the Fifth Congressional District member of the Louisiana State Board of Education during the 1960s and 1970s.

Whetstone was born in the village of Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish to Will Whetstone, a farmer, and the former Luta Craig (1883–1967). His formal education was limited to the Oak Ridge public school, and he was self-educated thereafter. On October 3, 1931, Whetstone married the former Josephine Elizabeth Hudson (1911–1984), daughter of C.R. Hudson and the former Annie Childres of Shreveport. The couple had one son, Eddie Craig Whetsone (born 1932) of Collinston, a village in Morehouse Parish.

From 1928–1977, Whetsone was employed by the former South Central Bell Telephone in, first, Shreveport, then New Orleans, Birmingham, and Monroe. He was a company district manager for fourteen years. He was a member of the Monroe Utilities Commission from 1975-1978.

Whetstone, a Democrat, was chosen by his colleagues as vice president and, then, president of the 11-member State Board of Education. His colleagues included the later state Education Superintendent Louis J. Michot of Lafayette. During part of Whetstone's tenure on the board, William J. "Bill" Dodd, a former lieutenant governor from Baton Rouge was the state superintendent. Michot unseated Dodd as superintendent in the 1971 Democratic primary. Other board of education members who served during Whetstone's tenure included Enoch T. Nix of Bossier City, J. Marshall Brown of New Orleans, and Fred L. Tannehill of Pineville.

Whetstone was elected to the state board in the Fifth District in 1962. He defeated the Republican George Snellings, of Monroe, 17,988 (55.6 percent) to 14,352 (44.4 percent). Whetstone lost two parishes in the district, his own Ouachita and Tensas, where Snellings polled 51.5 and 58.2 percent, respectively. Snellings would later become the father-in-law of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.

In 1970, Whetstone was reelected to his third term on the state board over the Republican Neil R. McDonald. Whetstone polled 26,463 votes (72 percent) to McDonald's 10,307 (28 percent). McDonald's strongest support came in Ouachita Parish, where he finished with 35.3 percent of the ballots. In most of the precincts in northeast Louisiana, the Whetstone-McDonald race was the only contest on the ballot in the general election that year.

Whetstone held other positions impacting education. He was a 16-year member of the Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities. He was president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University) Scholarship Foundation. He served two appointed terms on the Louisiana Educational Television Authority. He also served two elected terms on the Monroe City School Board.

His civic activities were endless: baseball umpire and coach, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber's "Man of the Year" in 1978, member of the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce, director of the YMCA and the American Red Cross, chairman of United Way, Rotary Club, Louisiana Farm Bureau, Ouachita Valley River Association, and the Louisiana Forestry Association. He was cited for "Outstanding Citizen Recognition" by the Louisiana Municipal Review. In 1986, Northeast Louisiana University granted Whetstone an honorary LL.D.

Whetstone was Methodist and active in the Northeast University Wesley Foundation. After retirement, he farmed in Morehouse Parish near Monroe. Other prominent Morehouse Parish planters include the Barhams, brothers Edwards Barham and Robert J. Barham, who have also served in the Louisiana State Senate.

Whetstone died in Monroe and is interred beside his wife at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Oak Ridge.

References[edit]

  • "William Edwin Whetstone", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 838