The Whittenberger Foundation, a private, independent, charitable grant making foundation was established by the Last Will and Testament of Ethel Bales Whittenberger who died at the age of 76, May 24, 1970, in Caldwell, Idaho. She and her husband, Dr. Claude R. Whittenberger, an osteopathic physician who died at the age of 63, on August 29, 1952, in McCall, Idaho, were longtime residents of Caldwell, and both were active in civic, educational, religious, and cultural affairs.
Mrs. Whittenberger, an elementary school teacher, was deeply interested in the welfare and education of children. She established broad purposes and limitations on distribution and use of Foundation funds in her Will.
Since the first distribution in December of 1973, grants totaling more than $8,000,000 have been made to a variety of institutions (see Recent Grants Awarded). Current assets are approximately $5,000,000.
Ethel Bales Whittenberger, founder of the Whitenberger Foundation, was born November 9, 1894, in Colby, Kansas. She attended elementary grades and high school in Caldwell, Idaho, graduating in 1913. She then went to Lewiston Normal School and Los Angeles State Normal School, graduating in 1917. Some graduate courses were taken from the University of Nebraska, and later the University of California. She taught school in Meridian, Idaho and at Marble Front and Washington grade school, in Caldwell.
After her marriage to Dr. Whittenberger in 1922, she worked in the office with him for many years. Following his retirement, the couple owned and operated two Grade-A dairy farms in the Middleton area.
Mrs. Whittenberger was a past matron and 50 year member of the Hermosa Chapter No. 32, Order of the Eastern Star, was a life member of the First Christian Church in Caldwell, was a charter member of the Soroptomist Club and the Marble Front Good Cheer Club. She and Dr. Whittenberger were active members of the Caldwell Riding Club and participated in many of the early day activities of the city. She had four brothers: William; J. Tipton; J. Frank; and Emory Bales; a sister, Mrs. Harry S. Burger (Mary), and many nieces and nephews. The couple had no children. They lived at 1504 Blaine Street, Caldwell, and she died at Caldwell Memorial Hospital on May 24, 1970.
Dr. Claude R. Whittenberger was born May 8, 1889 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, where he attended elementary grades and high school. He graduated from Edinboro State College in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and then enrolled and graduated from the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in Los Angeles, California in 1917. At this time he enlisted in the Army Medical Corps at Fort Logan, Colorado and served overseas in France and Germany. Following his discharge in 1919, he remained a year in Trier, Germany where he was in charge of Evacuation Hospital No. 12.
In 1920 he came to Idaho where he practiced in Burley for one year before moving to Caldwell. He married Ethel Bales on June 22, 1922 in Caldwell, and the two resided in Caldwell thereafter.
Whittenberger was associated with the staff of the Memorial Park Hospital (which later became a Caldwell nursing home and now a business building) from the time it was built until his retirement on March 1, 1948. He was past commander of the American Legion Post, a charter member of the Elks Lodge, and an active member in the Lions Club, IOOF, First Christian Church, Caldwell Riding Club, and was an executive of the Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts. He had one sister, Mrs. Emma Fisher of Youngstown, Ohio, and one brother, Sam Whittenberger of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Whittenberger died at McCall, Idaho, on August 29, 1952.