Richard P. Urban
June 16, 1940 – April 30, 2021
Richard Urban, 80, Waxhaw, NC, formerly of Blowing Rock, NC 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.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Richard P. Urban
May 4, 2021
Dick changed my life - and that is no understatement. I recently started a new opportunity as the Chief Operating Officer at a growing network of IVF fertility clinics in Canada (and soon the US), and I was asked to update my LinkedIn profile. In doing so, I thought back on the impact that Dick had on my life's path that brought me to where I was now, and I added the following line:
I began my career as a process engineer and would have continued down that path if not for a mentor’s good advice 30 years ago: that I could achieve more by applying my engineering mindset to business.
Dick was that wise mentor, who despite having achieved a lot at IBM also said, "Rooks, don't be like me and spend most of your career at IBM - go do your MBA." He even wrote one of my recommendation letters to Stanford, and it must have been very good because I was accepted. His encouragement and support set me down a very rich and rewarding path that has enabled me to support and encourage others as he did for me.
I was fortunate to have worked closely with Dick for 4 years while at IBM in the early 90's, and I have a lot of fond memories of the time we spent together, including times that I had the pleasure of meeting Suzy while they spent time in Southern California. Jackie and I were also very grateful for Dick and Suzy making the trip to Canada for our wedding before we headed off ourselves to California for me to attend Stanford. My life would have been very different if I had not had the pleasure of crossing paths with Dick!