The youngest of eight children, Billy was born June 14, 1943, the son of Ewing and Lois Whittaker. With five older sisters taking him to church, Bible preaching, and the witness of Sunday School teachers, Bill was saved and baptized in November 1960 at Calvary Baptist, Bowling Green.
In his senior year at Warren County High School he was president of the Beta Club, Science Club, and Student Council. The senior class voted him “Most Likely To Succeed”. He was in Mixed Chorus four years and All-State Chorus two years. He surrendered to ministry at Western Kentucky University where he was president of the Baptist Student Union. In a youth revival he met Bowling Green High graduate Rebecca Kaye Howard, a member of Eastwood Baptist Church, and an elementary education major. They were both summer missionaries in1964, Rebecca in Oklahoma; Bill in the Philippines. In August 1964, Jackson Grove Baptist Church in the Bristow community called Bill as pastor. They married June 18, 1966 (They were blessed with three children, John Mark (1972), Karen Marie (1973) and Mary Kaye (1976). They moved to the field after seminary graduation. Bill was also assistant to the dean of students at WKU; Rebecca taught school in Franklin.
They served First Baptist, Sturgis, Sept 1969 – Dec1975. The church built a new auditorium. Bill completed a D.Min. at Southern Seminary in 1974. He was pastor of First Baptist, Murray, Jan 1976 – Dec1982. Jack Birdwhistell wrote, “Getting things done, evangelism, and missions stand out when one thinks of Whittaker’s years at Murray.” He was president of the state pastor’s conference and elected KBC president in 1981. The convention approved his motion to increase KBC percentage going to the Cooperative Program at the 1982 session. He served on the KY Baptist Board of Child Care and was a member of a special Christian Education Committee that drafted a new support plan for KBC educational institutions.
Bold Mission Thrust was a denominational emphasis at that time and Bill and Rebecca were the second of three Murray FBC couples appointed as missionaries. For three years, Bill was pastor of International Baptist Church, Manila, Philippines and taught at a Filipino Baptist Bible School. Rebecca directed the IBC preschool with 50 children from five nations. The sanctuary debt was paid off and the church started two other churches—one of those later started three new churches.
In October, 1986, Bill became the first pastor of Downtown Baptist Church, Orlando, Florida, formed when FBC relocated. During his 22 month pastorate two staff members were called and the church assisted with a new church plant. Whittaker served on the YMCA board and the Coalition for the Homeless.
After declining the position in 1982, The Lord said yes to his becoming president of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, Pineville, KY in August 1988. Alumni knew him as “the turkey man” from his delivery of Christmas turkeys to the student body since 1970. In 2009, an academic building was named “The Bill D. Whittaker Classroom Building”; the building plague states: “Under his leadership in 1991, Clear Creek made the last payment on a note of almost one million dollars, making the school debt free. …. By 1998, 20 cottages were remodeled and six duplexes and three townhouses built. The Irene Peterson Child Development Center was constructed in 1993. In 1994, the Medical Services Center was built and the Asher Building was remodeled. In 1998 this Classroom Building became a reality. In 1999 the college received accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The campus library received extensive remodeling in the year 2000, and Kelly Hall transformed to showpiece quality in 2002. …. college endowment grew from two million dollars to thirteen million and the school remained debt-free. … To God Be the Glory!”
Whittaker was pastor of Glasgow Baptist Church, January 2007 – December 2010. The church began a deaf ministry, sent mission teams to Russia, India, and an Arizona Indian reservation, purchased additional property, remodeled the children’s area and called a ministry assistant for children and families. Whittaker was Liberty Association moderator and in June 2010 was elected a KY representative on the SBC Executive Committee. In retirement he serves as supply preacher, interim pastor and author. Bill and Rebecca enjoy nine grandchildren. The Lord has abundantly fulfilled a promise made to them many years ago—“I know the plans I have for you; to give you a future and a hope”