Member Profile – Richard Whitley

Member Profile – Richard Whitley

Longtime club member and good friend Richard Whitley passed away August 1, 2019. He had been in failing health in recent months, and is survived by his daughter Sharon. Richard was well known for his beautiful knife cutting marquetry work, and will be missed by all. On behalf of the club, a donation was made to the Beverly Hills Food Bank in Asheville, as requested in Richard’s obituary. This profile was written shortly before his death. He is missed and remembered by all.

Richard Whitley, now 87 years old, learned about marquetry when he was a young man, but life Crusaderkept him too busy to pursue such a hobby. About a year after he became a widower in 2001, he started looking for something to occupy his time, and marquetry was the answer. He  taught himself a few basics, using an exacto knife, but when he found the western North Carolina chapter of the marquetarians, he learned so much more, and it has become a big part of his life. He is a member of the Marquetarians of the Carolinas, attending as many meetings as he can.

He is also a member of the American Marquetry Society, and also the Marquetry Society, looking forward to both journals coming in the mail, reading them cover to cover. He knows that there is always something new to learn, a new veneer to discover, and new friends to make.

While he’s sold a few pieces, he’s probably given away more, and has spent hours sitting at a table cutting those tiny pieces of veneer, just for the sheer joy and satisfaction of finishing a piece of marquetry. He’s always loved ships, and his first piece was actually a kit ordered from England, of a clipper ship, and a more recent piece was from the club’s pattern library of a pirate ship. He’s also enjoyed doing animals, birds, etc. A friend commissioned him to do a piece of her mother’s horse from a photo, which he especially enjoyed working on. He is always thinking of his next project, long before he’s finished the last one. He often asks someone knew that he meets if they know what marquetry is, and when they usually say, no, he is quick to give a simple tutorial.  He loves what he does, and what could be better than that?

                                                                   Richard Whitley, 2019