Richard "Dick" Gordon Fuqua

July 3, 2017

CHARLOTTE – Richard "Dick" Gordon Fuqua died on July 3, 2017, after a brief struggle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. His final days were spent at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster. His final moments were spent with his beloved wife, Eileen Scholl, at his bedside, sharing with him loving memories of their life together. He was one month shy of his 85th birthday and 45th wedding anniversary.

Richard was born on Aug. 5, 1932, in Kansas City, Missouri, the second of Ernest and Juanita Fuqua’s seven children. He lettered in baseball, football and track and field in high school, then played semipro baseball for a year before moving to Atlanta to work as a manager for Avon. He served with the U.S. Army in Japan before returning to Atlanta to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech. Richard spent his career working in sales for Wood Fiber Industries, his job taking him to Charlotte in 1962. This is where he made his home and had his two beloved children, Kent and Catherine.  Life then took its greatest turn when mutual friends introduced him to Eileen. They were married on Aug. 11, 1972, and together lived a rich, full life.

Richard retired in 1996 and happily accompanied Eileen around the world in her second career as a diplomat with the State Department. He enjoyed living in Europe and South Africa, and his travels to such far-flung locales as Botswana, Indonesia and Tibet further reinforced his progressive view of the world and the importance of living together in peace. They returned to Charlotte after she retired and enjoyed family, friends and all that our city has to offer.

Richard Fuqua loved his wife and family, and his precious grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had a hunger for learning, whether it was reading a range of nonfiction that included politics and history or taking a music theory course so he could better appreciate the symphony. His liberal roots go back to 1967 when he worked for anti-Vietnam War presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy and continued with his activities in Democrat Party politics, civil rights, and fair housing endeavors.   He loved traveling and sailing competitively. Though an introvert, he kept friends and family entertained with a dry wit.  Those who knew him described Richard as a gentle and kind man who never had an ill word to say about another.

Richard is survived by his wife, Eileen; two children, Kent Fuqua and his wife, Pretam, of Sierra Madre, Calif., and Catherine Fuqua Forbes of Lantana, Fla.; one sister, Sandra Miller and her husband, Ron, of Marietta, Ga.; one brother, Robert Fuqua of Gardner, Kan.; three grandchildren – Alexander Fuqua of San Diego, Joel Campbell of Boone and Victoria Nelson of Arcadia, Calif; and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two women he and Eileen mentored – Nakisha Jones of Raleigh and Shameka Ellis of Charlotte.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Barbara Silvey and Mary Winningham; brothers Gary Fuqua and William Fuqua; and great-grandchild Moriah Nelson.

At the end, before his illness made it difficult for him to breathe, Richard said he lived the life he wanted to live. He died at peace.

The family is deeply grateful for the love and kindness shown by everyone at Hospice. Instead of flowers, a gift to honor Richard’s memory can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E. Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, Ill. 60611 or Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 or to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, 1420 East Seventh St., Charlotte, NC 28204.

A service to celebrate Richard’s life will be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 PM at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 N. Sharon Amity Road, Charlotte, NC 28211.  The family will receive friends following the service in the Fellowship Hall at the church.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte. Condolences may be shared online at 704-641-7606.


Share your memories & condolences


  • Sue Knight

    Dear Eileen, I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Dick. It brings back many happy memories of time together with both of you, especially also with Bill and Martin. There was always a thread of joy and understanding between you and Dick, that was so lovely to be around. I wish you peace and comfort in your memories, and in knowing that his was a life well-lived and that he passed away with that sense. Beautiful obituary.

  • Terese morris

    Such a loving and kind man, and fabulous husband. He will be missed.

  • Edie Swift

    It was such a pleasure to get to know both of you in South Africa. I remember Dick telling me, "if the pan isn't a little dirty, how would anyone know you used it?". I live by that!
    I will always remember watching the turtles lay eggs.....

  • Catherine Fuqua

    I was born to be your daughter. Thank you for all you taught me. I turned around because of you!

  • Catherine Fuqua

    I was born to be your daughter. You were a great dad for me. Thank you for all you were and did for me. Xoxo

  • William Gerard Coury

    To Eileen and Dick with love from Bill

    So beautiful the shimmering ocean seemed
    The sailor man saw atop the water his dreams
    And slowly he caste his sails once more
    Watching his boat gently drift from shore.

  • Mary Howerton

    DIck was a thoughtful and gentle man who treasured his interesting and active life with Eileen. He was loved by many and will be missed by all who had the good fortune to be in his company.

  • Shameka

    This was so nicely well put together and made me reflect back to stories he told me about different parts of his life. He was such a wonderful person.

  • Louise Frumkin

    Dear Eileen,
    I remember Richard fondly from our interactions several years ago. He impressed me as a gentle soul who exuded kindness, concern and sympathy. I imagine you and your family will miss him greatly. He always had a sparkle in his eye when discussing your world travels and experiences, and I hope those fond memories carry you through the coming months. Take good care of yourself.

  • Julio Cesar Losua

    Gustavo and I had the great pleasure to meet Richard, back in '07 visiting them inHallandale, FL. He was a great cook!
    My condolences to my dear friend Eileen. But I know they had a wonderful life together.
    Bon voyage, Richard!

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