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history of

whiting Brothers Investment Co.

Whiting Brothers Investment Co. was founded by Edwin Isaacson Whiting. E.I.’s varied business ventures began with a small lumber company in 1901 in St. Johns, Arizona.  E.I. and his brothers grew their business interests into a wide range of holdings including saw mills, car dealerships, gas stations in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and ranching, cattle, and land interests.

Early company assets included the “Whiting Block” in St. John’s Arizona.  In 1942 most of the Whiting Block was destroyed by fire.  Despite heavy losses incurred as the result of the fire, the next twenty years were a period of accelerated expansion due to the heightened demand for lumber products during World War II.   After World War II the Whiting enterprises not only expanded further into lumber mills and service stations but also began operations in ranching and hospitality interests.  To better manage these various industries, several corporate entities were formed including Whiting Brothers Land and Timber, Whiting Enterprises, Whiting Brothers Investment Company, Whiting Lumber Yards, and the Frisco Lumber Company.

Through five generations of leadership, WBI has grown and evolved through the great depression, the interstate bypass of business assets along Route 66 (the “Mother Road”), and the tragic death of early company leadership in an airplane accident.

Past leadership

E.I. Whiting

WBI was founded by Edwin Isaacson (“E.I.”) Whiting and flourished under his leadership and business insight.  After a grasshopper infestation in St. Johns, Arizona began destroying crops, E.I. started renting out his flock of turkeys to local farmers in order to assist in controlling the infestation.  His successful beginning in the turkey rental business would eventually lead to E.I.’s expansion into lumber production with sawmills in Arizona and New Mexico.  E.I. further expanded WBI into car dealerships, grocery, and land and cattle holdings.

Farr and Virgil Whiting

Following E.I., Farr and Virgil (E.I.’s two sons) continued Whiting Brothers legacy of growth and service.  Virgil, an avid pilot, agreed to never fly together with his brother Farr.  The one day where they made an exception to this rule, the brothers flew from St. Johns to Phoenix for a business meeting.  Shortly into the flight, the wings of their aircraft iced over.  They crashed close to the Mogollon Rim and both were killed.

Wilford J. Shumway

Shortly after the tragic death of Farr and Virgil, Wilford J. (“W.J.”) Shumway became president of WBI.  W.J. led the company through a significant restructuring and division of assets and grew WBI in the gasoline, grocery, and hotel businesses.   Prior to becoming president of WBI, W.J. served as a senator in the New Mexico Senate for Catron County.

W. Douglas Shumway and Richard Shumway

W. Douglas Shumway was appointed president of WBI in 1980 and was joined by his brother Richard soon thereafter.  Douglas and Richard continued expanding WBI in the hospitality and retail sectors.  In 1999, Douglas began serving in various full-time capacities with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints including mission president, general authority, and temple president of the Albuquerque, New Mexico temple until his return to WBI in 2012.


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