Rick Witherington Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Rick Witherington Jr.

May 28, 1951 - August 19, 2012
Obituary

Moffat Patrick "Rick" Witherington Jr., whose career took him from coast to coast and back again, died Aug. 19 in his Charlotte home, surrounded by his adoring sisters and his wife, whose late-arriving romance had revived his joy in life. Growing up in Statesville, the oldest and only boy among Pat and Harriet Witherington's four children, Rick was a member of the swim team and a was a water skier of wild abandon. Later, snow skiing, climbing California's Mount Whitney, and successfully completing the New York City Marathon were all physical pursuits he conquered. In all other aspects of his life, conquering was never a goal. His...
Moffat Patrick "Rick" Witherington Jr., whose career took him from coast to coast and back again, died Aug. 19 in his Charlotte home, surrounded by his adoring sisters and his wife, whose late-arriving romance had revived his joy in life.

Growing up in Statesville, the oldest and only boy among Pat and Harriet Witherington's four children, Rick was a member of the swim team and a was a water skier of wild abandon. Later, snow skiing, climbing California's Mount Whitney, and successfully completing the New York City Marathon were all physical pursuits he conquered.

In all other aspects of his life, conquering was never a goal. His greatest talent was showing us all how to love unconditionally. James Hutchens, his long time friend, gave us these adjectives to describe him: Kind. Gentle. Sweet. Highly, highly intelligent. Caring. Generous. Forgiving. Talented. Loyal. Funny. Refined. Curious. A Seeker. A Wanderer. A gentleman...a truly gentle-man. A "man's man" with a soft, silk-covered soul. The man we all wish we could be...but will never will be.

After earning a degree in business administration in 1973 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Rick began a graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, earning a master's degree in Resource Economics in 1977. That year, he began his long career at AT&T, first as an economist and public affairs analyst. He spent 20 years in that capacity in New Jersey and California before serving his last five years with AT&T as government affairs vice president, responsible for regulatory and legislative affairs in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. Since 2002, he had worked as economics and public affairs analyst at MP Witherington Consulting. His analytical mind and his writing skills served him and his employers well. In 2004, he returned to North Carolina while continuing his consulting business. The move allowed him to reconnect with family and to be close to his father in his final years. M.P. Witherington Sr. died in March 2010. Rick's mother, Harriet Riley Witherington, died in 1971.

Rick is survived by his wife, Deborah Noland Witherington, whom he married in 2009; his twin sons, Charles Caraganis Witherington and Peter Riley Witherington, both of California; and a stepdaughter, Aimee Sibel Turkdamar of Charlotte. Pete and Charlie came from California to sit beside Rick's bed in his final two months. Also surviving are his sisters, Ginny Tarleton of Wilson, Ann Stuntz of Durham, and Mary Crawford of Troutman; stepsister, Jane Wiley of Charlotte; stepbrother, Mac Wiley of Tennessee; and his stepmother, Patty Witherington of Statesville.

Also mourning his passing are legions of friends and relatives who knew his broad range of interests, his ability to converse on any topic, his intelligence, and his calm, relaxing demeanor. When he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in January 2011, scores of people rallied to his support, including old friends he had not seen in years and new friends he had never known. About two dozen friends and relatives marched with him in the Angels Among Us fundraiser for the Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke Medical Center in April 2011, soon after his surgery to remove his first tumor.

Family and any friends who wish to join us are gathering at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning August 25, 2012 at Oakwood Cemetery in Statesville, NC for a graveside service. The larger memorial service will be held in Charlotte at 2:00 p.m. at Myers Park Presbyterian Church on the same day.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710.

Guest Book

The Guest Book for Rick Witherington Jr. is no longer available online.

If you would like to reopen this Guest Book allowing further messages from loved ones, click here.


Personalize Your Tribute

Share photos, videos and more with Legacy Memorial Websites. Find out more.

 
Start Planning Today

Make Your Plan Today

Preplanning your funeral or cemetery arrangements gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. Don't wait. Make your plan online today.
Plan Online Now