Richard Eugene Whitten, commonly called Popeye, was well known throughout California’s central valley as a pioneer in the water well industry.

The beloved husband, grandfather and friend passed away at the age of 84 on March, 17 2014 after battling numerous illnesses.

Whitten was one of four original founders of Delano, Calif.-based Whitten Pumps Inc. In 1954 he and his father hand designed, developed and manufactured their own deep well turbines, bringing diversity to the company. Whitten Pumps eventually branched out into pump sales, pump installations, electrohydraulic swaging, television inspections and more.

A pro at coming up with solutions to well issues, Whitten was known for loving what he did. His face lit up at the mention of water wells. In his free time he enjoyed flying his plane, caring for his dogs and playing with his grandchildren.

The family says they are thankful for everyone who stood in prayer and support for Whitten and family during their difficult time.