Roger Whittaker, Balladeer With an International Following, Dies at 87

After a period of mourning, Mr. Whittaker resumed recording. Albums included “Celebration” (1993), “I Will Always Love You” (1994), “What a Wonderful World” (1994) and “A Perfect Day: His Greatest Hits” (1996).

And he resumed tours. In 1995, he sang at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for a 50th anniversary party for former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, who were fans. In 1997, despite a surgical knee replacement, he kept some 100 concert dates in Europe and America. He stopped touring in 2013 at 77 and retired to the south of France after years living in England and Ireland.

Roger Henry Brough Whittaker was born in Nairobi on March 22, 1936, to Edward and Viola (Showan) Whittaker, who, after the Staffordshire accident in 1930, had settled on a farm in Thika, outside Nairobi. His father recovered and became a successful builder and businessman in Kenya. His mother managed theaters.

After graduating from Nairobi’s Prince of Wales School in 1954 and finishing military service in 1956, Roger Whittaker began premedical studies at the University of Cape Town, but dropped out after 18 months. He became an apprentice teacher, but needing more education enrolled in 1959 at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962.

Still uncertain about his future, he consulted a faculty adviser, who told him, “Have a try in show business and if you haven’t made it in 10 years, come back here and teach.” Mr. Whittaker soon landed a singing job at a resort in Northern Ireland and began his career.

In 1964, he married Natalie O’Brien, who became his manager and co-author of his 1986 memoir, “So Far, So Good.” She survives him, as do their five children, Emily, Lauren, Jessica, Guy and Alexander; 12 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Mr. Whittaker is also survived by an elder sister, Mr. Elson said.

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