Cover photo for Richard C. Whiteley's Obituary
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1939 Richard 2020

Richard C. Whiteley

December 27, 1939 — April 4, 2020

Boston, MA

RICHARD CLAYTON WHITELEY , 80, of Boston Massachusetts passed away on Saturday, April 4, 2020 and is now with his spirit angels. He was on a walk with his beloved Catherine and fell asleep in her arms. He passed on with grace and dignity before arriving at Newton Wellesley Hospital. Doctors believe he had a heart attack.

He was the son of the late Harold and Elizabeth Whiteley. He is survived by his love Catherine Gerson, his three sons Jeffery (Julie), Matthew (Claudia), and Philip (Leah), (from his former marriage to Peggy Whiteley), and his cherished sister, Elizabeth Lee Hubbard. He was predeceased by his brother Peter Hillyer. He also leaves behind six much loved grandchildren Nicolas, Matias, Greyson, Charlotte, Michael, and Blake, as well as several dear nieces and nephews.

Richard was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 27, 1939 and was a graduate of Noble and Greenough School. He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and later went on to pursue his MBA at Harvard Business School. Between his time at Wesleyan and beginning business school, he spent 3 1/2 years in the US Navy as an Officer during the Vietnam War.

Throughout his career, Richard was a business practitioner, a successful entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, and a best selling author. He was a co-founding member of the Forum Corporation, a global management consulting firm. He was a dynamic speaker and consultant for a long list of Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, Richard was an award-winning author who penned several books on topics such as leadership, customer service, and spirit in the workplace. He taught business management classes at Harvard Business School, Babson College, USC, Boston University and others.

In addition to his professional pursuits, he fulfilled his life purpose of helping others through his Shamanic healing practice. He studied medicine with indigenous healers across the globe for over 30 years. Business Week summed it up best when they referred to Richard as “A Harvard Business School educated, best selling author and management consultant who moonlights as an urban shaman.”

Richard was also an accomplished athlete and had many hobbies. In high school he was a state champion wrestler, rowed on the crew team, and excelled at multiple sports. He played lacrosse at Wesleyan, was one of the founding members of the rugby program, and was known across campus as the Frisbee King. He had a lifelong passion for the sea and taught sailing during summers on Nantucket. Richard loved music and was a skilled musician who played the drums. One of his hidden talents was playing the spoons whenever the opportunity arose at family gatherings. Throughout his life he was an avid tennis player and an accomplished golfer. He was a proud member of the Brae Burn Country Club since 1992.

Richard was happiest when playing golf and spending time with his three sons and loved ones. He adored his family and friends and was remarkable for remembering many with his holiday sketch cards accompanied by philosophical reflections for that year. He also shared his poems, which he created over the years on subjects of Friendship, Unconditional Love, Old Souls, Tall Ships, Solitude and many more. Each year, Richard selected someone special in his life and presented them with the honor of a Thanksgiving letter of appreciation. He continued this tradition for close to 40 years.

Richard’s mere presence in any room was a source of strength, hope, and comfort. One of Richard’s many gifts was to innately sense a need, and with healing and kind words of encouragement, help ease burdens and light the path for others. He will be missed greatly by many.

A private service will be held for immediate family and a Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Richard’s honor to the Pachamama Alliance (, an organization that aims to integrate indigenous wisdom with modern knowledge to support an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard C. Whiteley, please visit our flower store.


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