Richard Urban, 80, Waxhaw, N.C., formerly of Blowing Rock, N.C., passed away on April 30, 2021.
Dick Urban’s story began when he was born Richard Paul Urban in Worcester MA, in 1940 to two parents who did not deserve him. He cherished his grandparents, Anthony and Sophie, who had migrated to the USA from Lithuania, entering through Ellis Island and who raised him with love.
His family called him Richie until the day he made the high school football team. The coach liked his height, speed and the size of his hands; announced he would be an End and said “Take the field, Dick,” and that nickname stayed with him. Dick was an imposing defenseman playing ice hockey, an expert duck hunter and guide on Lake Champlain, a good skier on water and snow, an outstanding fly fisherman and played a sorry game of golf. He was also proud to have served his country in the US Army and achieved the rank of Sergeant before an honorable discharge.
Dick was renowned for his mechanical skills whether working on a project car (there were many) or engineering hundreds of DIY projects around the house. And in the garden he created and built paths, stone walls, patios, and planted perennial beds that thrived and provided Suzy, his wife of 37 years, with overflowing armfuls of the flowers she loved.
Dick had a long and successful career as a senior manufacturing engineer with IBM. He was transferred from Vermont to the Charlotte manufacturing site in 1982, and, although he never said “y’all”, he adapted happily to a southern way of life. Always surrounded by animals, he became a motivated adoptive dad to many shaggy humane society dogs and a few rescued cats, and he was that guy in the family that all the pets bonded with.
Dick retired, and he and Suzy became full time residents of their vacation home in Blowing Rock, NC. As children married and grandchildren were born several additions were completed to accommodate his growing family. Grandparent’s Camp each summer at Teaberry Cottage taught skills like how to hike the deer path, catch a trout and build a birdhouse, creating lasting memories.
And like the Good Samaritan, he knew who his neighbors were. He was the guy who pulled over to help, who gave you a tow, who fixed your car or plumbing, who pulled the tree from your roof, who found your missing dog, who lifted and carried, who sang in the choir and babysat, and who came when called.
Loved ones that will miss Dick until they meet again are his wife, Suzy; son. Anthony and his wife Amanda and their children, Sam and Sophia; granddaughter, Holly of Vermont; daughter, Ginger and her husband Tom and their children, Lauren and Thomas; daughter, Leigh and her husband John and their three children, Matt, Kate and Charli; and many friends and caring neighbors both old and new. Dick possessed an outgoing personality and never knew a stranger.
We would be remiss if we did not tell you that Dick was a natty dresser, loved to dance, and was a lifelong aficionado of hot, buttered popcorn.
Dick was an annual volunteer at the OCC warehouse for Samaritan’s Purse helping to manage the processing and shipping of shoebox gifts around the world. This activity brought him much joy.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Samaritan’s Purse at samaritanspurse.org or to the charity of your choice in the name of Dick Urban.
McEwen Funeral Home of Monroe, NC, is handling arrangements. A reception and celebration of life for family and friends will be held at the home at a later date.