Richard Nettleton, 65, born Dec. 13, 1953, was taken from this life Friday, May 31, 2019.
His father, Rexford Nettleton, preceded him in death on April 1, 2010.
Left behind to hold him close in memory are his loving wife of 23 years, Sarah; sons, Richard Jr. and Robert Nettleton; stepchildren, Byron and Mary Elizabeth Browne; mother, Teresa Nettleton; seven siblings and spouses, Diana and Bill, May and Mike, Sue and Carl, Eric and Donna, Mary and Marc, Dora and Don, Peter and Cheryl; and many nieces and nephews. Despite the distance of time and miles, they were all held close in his mind and heart.
Richard was a dedicated Virginia Beach Design and Construction Manager in Public Utilities. Richard loved being an engineer and loved his family. He was a steadfast, calm committed man of action in his family life, in his military career and in his municipal service.
Growing up around the country in a military family, Richard was the oldest of eight children. His American father met his mother while stationed in Taiwan. Richard was proud of his Chinese Heritage on his mother’s side. Richard later followed in his father’s path serving his country and finished his 10 years of service as a captain in the U.S. Army’s 84th Engineering Battalion. He moved to Norfolk with his family in 1987.
In 1991, he began his service to the City of Virginia Beach. Richard had a Master’s Degree in Engineering from UNH, an MBA from ODU, and was a member of the NSPE and the ASCE. He was a strong supporter of the Minority Business Expo and believed in professionalism, diversity and reaching out to all in the community.
He looked forward to finishing his Ph.D. so that he could teach others after retiring. He was hopeful for family times in retirement, traveling, working on cars and watching the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox. Many remember him as “just a really nice guy.”
Coworkers have shared that he was a great leader who was highly regarded as one who put himself last on the list when others had a need. Rich always strived to be the better person and include everyone. He was all about the city and the best possible outcome for the citizens and was exceptionally proud of the engineers and the staff with whom he worked.
He especially enjoyed mentoring other engineers and treated everyone with fairness and kindness. Richard’s son, Rick, remembers his dad as a kind, friendly and caring man. “I remember on a company picnic with my brother and me, he smiled, waved and said hello to everyone that he saw…I now realize that we need more people in the world like him, that we should all strive to be more like the man he was.”
His wife Sarah remembers her husband, “He was our strong, steady presence during every family challenge. He provided me with a safe place to land and never complained.” Richard and Sarah were looking forward to his retirement years where they could grow old together just doing the simple things they loved, walking at botanical gardens, day trips, visiting New Hampshire and continuing their love story that began 23 years ago. “He was my rock, my protector, best friend and the love of my life.”