John Whitman, Investment Banker and Husband of Governor, Dies at 71


John R. Whitman with his wife, Gov. Christie Whitman, at a rally in East Brunswick, N.J., in 1997 as she sought re-election. John R. Whitman, an investment banker and the husband of former Gov. Christie Whitman of New Jersey, died on Thursday in Morristown, N.J. He was 71.
The cause was a catastrophic brain injury he suffered in a fall on June 19, said Heather Grizzle, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Whitman.
Mr. Whitman was a founder, president and managing partner of Sycamore Ventures, a venture capital firm. He began working for Citicorp in 1972, and he was chairman and chief executive of Prudential-Bache Interfunding Inc. from 1987 until 1990.
Mrs. Whitman was governor from January 1994 until January 2001, when she was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency by President George W. Bush. At times Mr. Whitman took on an ambassadorial role of sorts for the state government, occasionally creating consternation among watchdog groups.
In 1999, the email company, of which Mr. Whitman was a shareholder and director, received a $1.6 million state tax incentive grant to move its offices from Manhattan to Jersey City. officials said Mr. Whitman was unaware that they had applied for the grant, and he left the company several days after the grant was awarded.
Mr. Whitman maintained that rumors of his impact on policy were greatly exaggerated.
“I try to convince my wife to follow her own views on any particular subject because I think she has better judgment than anybody,” he said in 1997. “The people of New Jersey didn’t elect me to anything.”
John Russell Whitman was born in Albany on June 8, 1944, the grandson of a former New York governor, Charles Whitman Sr., and the son of a New York City judge, Charles Whitman Jr. He graduated from Yale University in 1966 and served as a first lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War before graduating from Harvard Business School in 1971.
Mr. Whitman knew his future wife sociallybefore their first date, at President Richard M. Nixon’s inaugural ball in 1973. They were married the next year.
Mrs. Whitman survives him, as do their daughter, Kate Whitman Annis; a son, Taylor; six grandchildren; his brother, Charles S. Whitman III; and a sister, Jan Whitman Ogden