John Witherspoon ’49

John Witherspoon '49

John Witherspoon, a longtime resident of Hampton, passed away peacefully on May 31, 2021. He was born on March 17, 1928 in Lynchburg to Ethel Warthen and Rev. Dr. James W. Witherspoon. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Lt. James W. Witherspoon, Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Carolyn Bass Witherspoon, son James Whitted Witherspoon (Meg), daughter Elizabeth Witherspoon Hubbard (Tim), brother Jere Warthen Witherspoon (Ellen), grandchildren Emily, Trent and Allison Hubbard, step-granddaughter Brandi Stacy, step-great-grandchildren Ryan and Aubree Stacy, and many close friends and extended family.

John spent his childhood in Lexington, NC and later his family moved to Beckley, WV, where he made lifelong friends. He graduated from Davidson College and earned a master’s degree from George Washington University. He served in the Air Force then settled in Hampton where he had a 40 year career at NASA.

John was an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hiking, sailing, skiing and traveling to destinations around the world to seek new adventures. Most important to him was his love of his church and family. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Hampton where he was a Deacon and an Elder and served on numerous committees. He enjoyed boating and crabbing with his children and grandchildren and often could be found kayaking on Harris Creek.

John was an active member of the Hampton Yacht Club and served as secretary for seven years. He volunteered for many organizations including the Virginia Air and Space Centre in Hampton, where he served as a docent since its inception and enjoyed sharing his love of space and flight with others. He was proud of his ancestry and being a member of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Hampton on Saturday June 5, at 2pm. The family will receive friends at the church after the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Hampton, 514 S. Armistead Ave., Hampton, VA 23669 or Sentara Hospice Services, 11844 Rock Landing Dr. Suite C, Newport News, VA 23606.