Anna W. Gaither

Anna W. Gaither


Anna Whittaker Gaither was born on April 27, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of the late John Phillip Whittaker and Alva Brown Whittaker. She was from Voorhees, New Jersey and passed away peacefully on Sunday April 7, 2024 at the home of her daughter in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Anna attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated as the Valedictorian of her class. She graduated from Spelman College in 1950, majoring in Biology and Math and was a Cum Laude graduate. She was awarded the “Lewis Prize” for the student most proficient in the sciences. One of Anna’s professors told her father she had the “most brilliant mathematical mind he ever taught.” She taught math for three years in the Atlanta School District and took graduate courses at Atlanta University.

When Anna returned from Germany her professional career began in Jersey City, New Jersey as a Chemical Literature Researcher in New York City. Shortly after she moved to Swedesboro, New Jersey she landed a job with the E.I. DuPont Chemical Company in Gibbstown, New Jersey as the first African American Chemist from 1961-1970. She did literature searches, technical writing and translations from German to English. Later she worked part -time at DuPont for the Textiles International Marketing Information Service, which was a publication for the Textile Fibers Department.

In the community of Swedesboro Anna served as a Cub Scout Den Mother, Welfare Secretary for the Salvation Army, member of the Women’s Progressive Club and Chairperson of the American Cancer Society Fund Drive.

After taking some time off, Anna changed careers to become a High School Math teacher for the Burlington City Public School District. For twenty-five years she taught Basic Math Skills, Algebra, Geometry, and SAT Math Prep courses. Upon retirement Anna’s students dedicated their yearbook to her as a “special tribute” for her loyal and dedicated service to them. She always reassured them, “if you put in the work, you will be successful.”

Anna joined the South Jersey Links in 1965. She was a Platinum member having served almost every office including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer for over ten years and Financial Secretary. As a dedicated member Anna chaired many fundraisers that included; Atlantic City Card Parties, South Jersey Dinner Dances at Aulettoes, Gloucester County Annual Art Show, Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Susan Taylor Luncheon.

Anna attended many National Assemblies and Area Conferences throughout the country including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C..

She also served as a Past President of the South Jersey Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. that continues to thrive as an organization dedicated to nurturing children, our future African American leaders in the South Jersey community.

She became a member of the Living Word Bible Fellowship Church in Blackwood New Jersey around 1990. While there Anna participated in the Vacation Bible School, the choir, and was active in the Women’s Fellowship.

Anna was known for her soft-spoken voice and witty sense of humor. She was a devoted Mother to her children by encouraging their academic success and attending their school functions. She was an avid reader and her hands were rarely still; she was an excellent seamstress, loved cooking, planting her annual pansies in the backyard and also shared cuttings from her night blooming cereus, which originated from her mothers home in Atlanta. The thrill was watching it bloom at nightfall, which was short-lived and very fragrant. She also loved attending plays in Philadelphia with her dearest friends. One of Anna’s joys in life was her family history and in 2000 she hosted a Whittaker, Darden, Moody, Perry reunion in Voorhees, New Jersey.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the Bright Star Caregivers; Kehinde, Nasuma, Tanesha, Mariah, Tonya and Oscar. Their thoughtful and loving care was given from February 2023 to April 7, 2024. They always gave tender loving care to our Mom as though it was their Mom.

Anna was preceded in death by her father John P. Whittaker, mother Alva B. Whittaker, sons Cornelius W. Gaither and John C. Gaither and sister Dr. Edna M. Lockert. She is survived by her daughters Carol G. Clark of Aberdeen, Maryland, Carmen G. Taylor of Montclair, New Jersey and son Reginald C. Gaither of Camden, NJ, Grandson’s Offie E. Clark and Brandon G. Taylor, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, former students and many friends who will miss her dearly.

Come celebrate 90 great years Saturday April 27, 10 – 11 a.m. at Daley Life Celebration Studio, 1518 Kings Highway, Swedesboro where there will be an 11 a.m. service.


  1. Peggy Ward says:

    Carmen and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Joan Fobbs, Ph.D. says:

    Anna Gaither was a brilliant scholar and beloved family member. He quiet, dignified way of living and approaching life situations was to be admired by so many of us. Anna was born into a wonderful family of leaders and achievers. She was one of 33 grandchildren born to Rev. John W. Whittaker and his wife Anna. Rev. Whittaker served as the first Chaplain of Tuskegee University where he presided for 37 years, at the request of Booker T. Washington. True to the legacy she was born into she too left a wonderful life story for all of us to learn from. She will be missed by many family members loved ones and friends. May the light of God’s everlasting love warm the heart of her family now and always.
    Sincere prayers of grace be with the family.

  3. Mona Hall says:

    Dear Carmen and family, praying that you find comfort and strength as you go through the difficult days ahead. Hoping you will lean on God to get you through the tough times. In time you will smile through the tears. Sending my sincere condolences to you.

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