PETER Whittle, who has died aged 87, was a leading independent Huddersfield retailer and a strong advocate for the town.
But he is also remembered as a devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather who loved being surrounded by members of his family.
Mr Whittle was born in Huddersfield and attended Huddersfield New College before training in retailing at Schofield’s department store in Leeds.
He joined Kayes department store in 1948 in Huddersfield, following in the footsteps of his father, Ernest, and rose to become joint managing director alongside his brother Alan.
When the store closed in 1982, Mr Whittle founded Peter’s fashion store at King Street. He ran the business for many years – 25 of them alongside son David – eventually becoming chairman.
David and his wife Caroline continue to run the store today. Mr Whittle was pleased when their son Joseph entered the business, too.
As a founder member and chairman of Huddersfield Retail Association, Mr Whittle was a passionate advocate for the town and its businesses.
But he also enjoyed his leisure time, playing golf at Woodsome Hall and watching Huddersfield Town. Even in old age, he regularly played three half-rounds of golf a week.
He was an avid Town fan – although he had to be persuaded to break his habit of leaving matches 10 minutes early to beat the traffic when Town clinched promotion to the Championship in a thrilling play-off final at Wembley.
David Whittle said: “We went on a special charter train and had a great day. Again, he wanted to slip out early to avoid the crowd, although I was guilty of telling him to sit down and wait. We won the penalty shoot-out 12-11, but we could easily have missed it if we had done his usual early leaving.”
Mr Whittle also took pride in his garden and reputedly bought his house in Almondbury because it had a magnificent magnolia tree in the garden.
Mr Whittle was a member of Huddersfield 68 Round Table for 20 years and Huddersfield Rotary Club for more than 40 years. He was also a member of Kirkburton and District Probus Club and attained the chairmanship or presidency of all three organisations.
Among his other business activities, he was a president of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Huddersfield Benevolent Association. He chaired the Northern Stores Group and was regional chairman of the Association of Independent Stores as well as being involved in the British Shops and Stores Association.
David added: “Even though he was 87 when he passed away, it was a real shock as he was still relatively healthy. In fact, my wife Caroline had a nickname for him – she called him Peter Pan.”
He added: “I worked with him for many years, and although business is hard for all of us, I am very proud to run a retail business with his name over the door.”
Mr Whittle was married to Eileen for many years. Following her death, he shared his life with partner Shirley, who had also died.
Mr Whittle leaves two daughters, Rosemary and Susan, a son, David, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A private service for family will be held at 11.15am on Tuesday, June 25, at Huddersfield Crematorium followed by a service at noon at All Hallow’s Church, Almondbury.