December 31, 1938 ~ June 19, 2020

Born in: Suffolk, England
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Mr. Richard J. Whiteley of 331 Vanderbilt Road (Biltmore Forest) died at the age of 81 on June 19, 2020.

He was born in Suffolk, England, on December 31, 1938, and he was educated at the Culford School (West Suffolk). Dick was captain of the rugby team and the Head Boy at Culford. He continued his education at the University of Bristol where he graduated with a degree in chemistry.

Dick pursued a career in chemistry at Shell UK, ICI Americas, and International Paper. While at Shell, he did research in structural applications of polyurethane and advanced the use of microwave technology for rapid uniform industrial thermal fixation. During his time with International Paper, Dick and family lived in Brussels where he headed the European sales team for several years.

Roba, his wife of 38 years, is a national healthcare access advocate who led the former Together Rx programs for the uninsured. Dick is also survived by his son Richard Allan Whiteley and daughter-in-law Elizabeth McArthur Whiteley and two grandchildren, John Banks Whiteley and Elsie Hall Whiteley (Tampa Florida), and his stepson Steven Merrick Ritt (San Diego, California).

In England, he has two sisters, Elizabeth (Libby) Balch and Gillian (Gill) Payne. In addition, he has five nieces in England and one nephew in Australia.

In retirement, Dick became a well-known painter (oil and acrylics) of landscapes and townscapes in Washington, DC and the tidewater region of the Chesapeake Bay. He served two terms as President of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, one of the United States’ oldest fine arts organizations.

He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and Biltmore Forest Country Club. His joy was playing golf and tennis. Donations can be made to the Church of the Advocate to assist the homeless of Asheville– 60 Church Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

A memorial service will be held later to honor his life.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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  1. Roba and family,

    My heart goes out to you in this time of shock and sadness. You will find comfort in reminiscing and sharing stories about Dick – it does help with the grieving and healing process. I’m so glad that I was able to meet Dick and spend time with you (Washington & Asheville) over the last several years. And I will treasure my Richard Whitely original (Cowanesque River) painting to always remember him.

    Love, Cindy

  2. To Roba and Family, We are so sorry and know how heartbroken you must be. Also glad that he did not suffer. We are sure that he was welcomed with open arms. If it is any consolation Dick is now in a much safer world than we are living in. He was such a great man with all of his talents and friendship to all. Our prayers are with you and your family always. We are so blessed to have known Dick and spent time with you both when you were in Alexandria. Only wish we lived closer so we could spend time together. Please keep in touch. God’s blessings and our love to you.

  3. To Roba and Family,
    May God be with you during the loss of your loved one. It is a blessing that he did not suffer with pain. I am sure that he was welcomed with open arms. If it is any consolation Dick is now in a much safer world than we now live in. Our blessings go out to you and your family and wish that we lived closer so we could spend time with you. We enjoyed so much spending time with you both in Alexandria, Va. Please keep in touch. Lots of Love

  4. Dear Roba and Family,
    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Dick. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I have enjoyed our conversations over the last few years and please know that I am here for you during this difficult time. Sincerely, Steve

  5. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near, so loved, so missed, so very dear.
    Love, Prudence


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