Charles Goodwin Whitmire
Colonel, United States Army
Charles Goodwin Whitmire, 84, an Army Colonel and Soviet expert who retired in 1972 as executive officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, died of heart disease November 25, 2003, at Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington.
Colonel Whitmire was a Greenville, South Carolina, native who began his Army career after graduating from The Citadel in 1940. While on assignment in Boston as commander of a coastal artillery battery, he was in the Coconut Grove nightclub on the night of November 28, 1942, along with hundreds of other GIs. The structure caught fire and nearly 500 people were killed, making it one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history. In his attempt to escape and help others flee the flames, he suffered severe burns. He was hospitalized for six months and continued to receive medical care for several years.
In 1944, after graduating from Command and General Staff School, he trained in Russian at Columbia University and at the Army's Russian affairs school in Germany. He received a master's degree in economics from Columbia in 1948.
Subsequently, he was a Russian translator in Berlin and a Paris-based courier to embassies in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He was also assigned to accompany six defectors from the Soviet army to Washington, where he monitored their debriefing by U.S. intelligence agencies. From 1955 to 1958, he was an assistant attache in London.
He had lived in Arlington since 1958, except for brief posting elsewhere.
Colonel Whitmire was chief of the Army intelligence estimates office before being assigned to the DIA. He went on to study Bulgarian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and was defense attache in Sofia, Bulgaria, before rejoining the DIA.
After he retired from the Army, Colonel Whitmire was a Soviet expert for the National Governors Conference. He escorted eight governors on a tour of the Soviet Union and hosted a return visit by the leaders of eight Soviet republics that culminated in a White House meeting with President Richard M. Nixon.
He led other tours, including some sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Jane
Whitmire of Arlington; five children, James M. Whitmire and Jerry C. Whitmore,
both of Alexandria, Charles G. Whitmire Jr. and Jane Pilzer, both of Greenville,
and Anne Dembinski of Hamden, Conn.; and 11 grandchildren.
On November 25, 2003 of Arlington. He is survived by his wife Jane W. Whitmire of Arlington; five children Jerry Whitmire II and James Whitmire II of Alexandria, Charles G. Whitemire Jr., and Jane W. Pilzer of Greenville, SC, and Ann W. Dembinski of Hamden, CT, their spouses and 11 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his brother LTC Jerry C. Whitmire and two grandchildren.
Services will be at Grace Episcopal Church, 3601 Russell Rd., Alexandria, Virginia, at 1 p.m. on January 16, with burial immediately following at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to
the Citadel Foundation, 171 Moultrie St., Charleston, SC 29409 or the Whitmire
Family Fund at Community Foundation of Greater Greenville, 27 Cleveland
St., Greenville, SC 29601.