Eugene Daniel Witherspoon Jr. ’54

Eugene Daniel Witherspoon, Jr., son of Eugene Daniel and Frances McFaden Witherspoon, died on July 9, 2022.  He was born on May 1, 1932 in Winchester, VA.  He was the fourth great-grandson of John Witherspoon, the only pastor to sign the Declaration of Independence. 

He received a B.A. in English from Davidson College, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA and a Master of Theology in Church Government from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. 

While in seminary, Gene married Peggy Fitch and they had two children; Gene and Peggy later divorced.  Gene was ordained in 1957 and served churches in North Carolina and West Virginia.  He organized two churches while in North Carolina.  He served in the Office of the General Assembly in both the PCUS and PC(U.S.A.) Churches.  He served on the staff of the Board of Annuities and Relief, PCUS.  Gene recorded the minutes of the General Assembly of the PCUS and PC(U.S.A.) for over 25 years.  He compiled two editions of the Ministerial Directory of the denomination and put biographies from all five directories on the internet.  He updated the Digest of Proceedings of the PCUS.  He was Manager of Judicial Process in the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, KY.  Gene was a member of both the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs and also refereed youth soccer. 

And then came retirement!  Truly the best that was yet to be.  Retiring on the last day of 1993, he and his wife Barbara moved to Hendersonville, NC and later to Saluda, NC.  Gene conducted house tours and then worked as a Park Ranger for two seasons at the Carl Sandburg Historic Site (he shares the same birth month and day with Lillian (Paula) Steichen Sandburg noting that annual parades are held in Russia on “his” birthday.)  He was stated supply at Saluda Presbyterian Church for ten-plus years.  Throughout it all, he was a great believer in the value of humor.  The very best that was to be was his time at Highland Farms Retirement Center where he and Barbara lived for 14 years.

Gene was preceded in death by six hours by his remarkably fantastic and devoted wife of 38 years, Barbara.  He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Tom Harrell of Cumming, GA; a daughter, Kay, of Hernando, MS; a son and his wife, Dan and Christina, of Hernando, MS; two stepchildren, Lisa and David Westin, both of the Atlanta area; and three “adopted” children:  Valerie, Paul and Punkin.  There are five grandchildren:  Torie, Joseph, Anna, Adam and Jon; ten great-grandchildren:  Aliyah, Tiyana, Malachi, Isaiah, Molly, Jaylen, Bogey, Thomas, Lenny and Ryan (number 11 is due in January); and one dog, Mellow, of the home.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Givens Highland Farms Assistance Fund, Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, or a charity of your choice.