Robert (Bob) Witherspoon passed away at home at the age of 93 on Monday, January 16, 2023. Robert David Witherspoon was born to Thomas and Lois Witherspoon in Catawba, North Carolina on September 29, 1929. Robert was preceded in death by his wife, Laura Beatrice “Bea” Witherspoon; brother Charles Witherspoon; and sister, Betty Witherspoon Boyd. He was raised in Hickory, North Carolina where he was a graduate of Catawba College and later studied Chemical Engineering at RPI (currently VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He spent much of his time in the service stationed in Texas. He was married to Laura Beatrice Childers in May of 1956.
He and his wife moved to Richmond, Virginia where he worked for Carpenter Company (Formally E. R. Carpenter) from 1954 to his retirement in 1993.Bob was a part of the original management team for Carpenter Company and was hired personally by E. R. Carpenter. Bob Witherspoon served as the Richmond Plant Superintendent for many years and then went on to become the Corporate Engineer for the company. Robert was a pioneer in the development and perfection of the polyurethane foam industry and made many manufacturing improvements in Carpenter’s fiber and carpet cushion manufacturing processes. Many of his contributions led to the success of the company which is now known today as one of the world’s largest producers of cushioning products. Bob was inducted into Carpenter’s Pantheon in 1993. The Pantheon is reserved for only very special employees who have made truly exceptional contributions to the company over an extended period of time.
He was a long-time member of Meadowbrook Country Club where he was an avid golfer. He also loved fishing especially along the Carolina beaches. He had a great love of reading and was a lifelong learner always curious of new ideas and technologies. To him, there was never a problem that couldn’t be solved or something that couldn’t be improved.
Robert is survived by his son, Robert D. Witherspoon, II (Cathy) of North Chesterfield, Mary Elizabeth Allen (Jeff) of Southerland and Virginia Layne (Darryl) of Forest all in Virginia. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Robert D. Witherspoon, III, Laura Leigh Layne and Joseph Thomas Layne. He is also survived by brother Harry Witherspoon and sister, Brenda Fox both of Hickory. Special nieces, Debra Huggins and Kimberly Williams both of North Chesterfield.
A graveside service will be held at 11:30 am on Saturday, January 28 at Sunset Memorial Park in Chester, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to The National Kidney Foundation: 5111 Old Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, Virginia 23224.