Richard “Buddy” Alan Birgel, Sr. ’58

Richard (Buddy) Alan Birgel, Sr. died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, after a short illness. He was 88 years old.

Buddy was born in Greensboro, NC on December 7, 1935 to Stephen Harrington Birgel and Maude Jones Birgel. He graduated from Greensboro High and then attended Davidson College. Buddy spent two years serving in the Navy before beginning a long and fruitful career in sales and real estate development, part of which was serving as an executive at Triangle Brick Company.

Buddy was known for his vibrant personality, infectious sense of humor, and generous spirit. He frequently went out of his way to help a friend or acquaintance in need. Buddy’s favorite way to connect with people was over a great meal. He was an excellent cook and loved to feed people, often showing up at your door unannounced to drop off a batch of his latest soup. When visiting a new restaurant that really wowed him, Buddy walked into the kitchen clapping and asked to shake hands with the chef. It is no surprise that over the course of his life, he made many friends in the restaurant industry.

Buddy’s love of travel made him friends across the globe. Of all the places he visited, Adelaide, Australia was his most beloved home. Other things that Buddy enjoyed included playing bridge, watching Turner Classic Movies, and singing along to Frank Sinatra. He was a master of the punchline and never lost his sense of humor, even as his health declined in the last few years of his life. Most importantly, Buddy was a devoted father. His seven children and ten grandchildren were his reason for being, and nothing brought him more joy than spending time with them.

Buddy was predeceased by his parents and younger sister Cynthia (Cookie) McAdoo. He is survived by his two sisters, Carolyn McCall and Nancy Vanstory (Neal); his brother-in-law, Halstead McAdoo (Karen); his seven children, Coleman Whittier (Brian), Anne Birgel Cunningham (Greg), Richard Birgel Jr. (Ali), Stephen Birgel (Kate), Mary Dehnert (Rick), Samuel Birgel, and Maggie Larson (Bradley); and his ten grandchildren: Eric, Crispin, and Lili Whittier; Haley, Jeanette, and Silas Cunningham; Anne and Helen Dehnert; and Emmie and Lucy Birgel. He also leaves behind eight nieces and nephews and too many special friends to list by name.

Buddy loved God and his Christian faith was very important to him. Our hearts rest a little easier knowing he will spend eternity with his Father in heaven.

Out of respect for Buddy’s wishes, there will be no formal service at this time. We hope to honor Buddy’s life by continuing to spread the joy that he so freely shared with others during his life. He will be dearly missed.