Mr. James “Slater” Whitaker, age 66, a resident of Auburndale, FL, passed away, Friday, May 1, 2020 at Lakeland Regional Surrounded by his loving family. James was born, August 5, 1953 in Constableville, NY, the son of William and Dolores June (Maikranz) Whitaker. He was an Auburndale resident since 2016 relocating from Utica. James was a retired maintenance supervisor for the New York State Department of Corrections for 25 years and also worked as a barber for 15 years, both in New York. He and his family spent summers at Lake Floodwood in the Adirondacks, having a wonderful time and enjoying the lake. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, playing golf and spending time with his family. Mr. Whitaker is survived by his loving wife of 38 Years, JoAnn Saponari Whitaker of Auburndale, FL; two daughters, Danielle Hotz and her husband Nicholas of Albany and Samantha Galliher and her husband, Mathew of Clinton; four cherished grandchildren, Cameron, Charlotte, Gwenyth and Elaina; two brothers, Mark Whitaker of Whitesboro and Michael Whitaker and his wife Beverly of Groveland, FL; sister, Cheryl Webb of Kingston, NY; brother-in-law, John Saponari, Jr. and his wife Sharon of Sycamore, IL and sister-in-law, Shelly Whitaker of Poland, NY; He was predeceased by his parents; brother, William Whitaker, Jr. and sister Lydia Flansburg Visitation for family and friend is Thursday, June 17, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Heintz Funeral Home, 408 Herkimer Rd., N. Utica, followed by a prayer at the conclusion of visitation. He will be laid to rest in Townsend Cemetery in Holland Patent, NY.