Phoenix man who claimed to have 54 children dead at 87

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Samuel Delbert Whitney was well know in south Phoenix for many years as the operator of a wrecking yard and a half dozen social clubs. 

Whitney died last month at age 87, and now three of his daughters are trying to get in touch with their brothers and sisters to let them know about a memorial being held in celebration of his life.

The problem is, Whitney claimed to have as many as 54 children and it's not known where many of them live or even who they are.

"Lexie, are you saying you have 53 brothers and sisters?" I asked Lexie Woods, a stepdaughter of Whitney's.

"It seems that way." she laughed.

Sandra Whitney, who at age 69 is the oldest of the Whitney children, says because her dad was still fathering children during his late 70's some of her siblings are in their mid-teens.

Posters are being spread throughout south Phoenix in an attempt to inform as many of the huge Whitney brood as possible about the passing of their father and to let them know the memorial will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Bridge Church in Phoenix.

"My dad was a wild man." says daughter Marillyn Whitney.

She adds family was important to him and it would please him to have his large number of children finally get to meet one another.