David Hampton Witt, 89, of Kingsport Tennessee, formerly of Hilton Head Island, SC, died Wednesday September 11, 2019, after a brief illness. He was born in Swansea, SC, July 3, 1930, the eldest son of the late Thelma Crook and Lee Harold Witt, Sr.
A retired engineer and manager, with a B.S. in Engineering from Clemson College, Class of 1951, and MS from George Washington University, he spent most of his career at the US Army Test and Evaluation Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He received the US Army Meritorious Civilian Service Medal twice. He was the US Army representative of a British, German and US test team to evaluate candidate tank weapons. Previously he was an instructor at Clemson College and a production engineer with J. P. Stevens Co.
Commissioned in the US Army Reserve, Ordnance Corps, he served on active duty during the Korean Conflict. After 28 years in the Army Reserve he retired a Lt. Colonel.
He was active in the United Methodist Church at the local and national level. While living in Maryland, he led a successful effort to replace the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church pipe organ. It culminated in an organ concert by world renowned organist Virgil Fox. Over the years he taught Church School, and sang in the choir. He was a member of St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church on Hilton Head Island and Mt. View United Methodist Church. He was a resident of Asbury Place at Baysmont until he moved to The Blake.
While living in Havre de Grace, MD he was a part of a volunteer effort which restored the 1840 Lock House, a National Historic Register property and served as Board Chairman, Susquehanna Museum of Havre de Grace, Inc. He was an adult leader of Boy Scout Troop 967 and a member of the Havre de Grace Lions Club for twenty-five years, serving as President in 1969.
Upon retirement in 1985, he and his wife, Johnnie Lee, moved to Hilton Head Island, SC, where he worked for the Marriott Hilton Head Resort. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and active in the Forest Beach Homeowners Assoc., serving on the Board of Directors and Architectural Review Board.
In 1994 he wrote and published, Stories for Robert and Rachel: Growing up in South Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s, a book recording local history and family stories in the Swansea community, Lexington County. With two friends, he wrote and published the genealogy book, Before Michael Witt and After, A Genealogy of the Witt Family with S. C. Origins, 1752 - 1996.
A firm supporter of higher education, the Mary Wannamaker and Lee Hampton Witt Memorial Scholarship was established at Clemson University, and the Crook-Witt Music Scholarship at Columbia College.
After retirement, he and his wife traveled in the US and Europe and spent time at their summer place in Kingsport, TN.
His family consists of: wife of 67 years, Johnnie Lee Smith Witt (married in 1952); daughter, Celia Jane Witt (husband Chad Beauchamp); son, Rick Witt (wife Beth Fortune); grandson, Robert David Witt (wife Hayley Hughes); great grandson, Levi David Witt; granddaughter, Rev. Rachel Witt Carosiello (husband Rev. Gryff Carosiello); brother, Lee Harold Witt, Jr., Swansea, SC, deceased; sister, Katherine Witt Fugate, deceased; and cousin, Wannelle Witt Lefkowizt (husband Marty).
The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at Mt. View United Methodist Church in Kingsport. The funeral service will follow at 3:00 p.m. with Rev. Elizabeth Hamilton officiating.
A private burial will be held on Monday, September 16, 2019, at Melrose Cemetery in Swansea, South Carolina.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Clemson University Foundation, David Hampton Witt and Johnnie Lee Smith Witt Scholarship, 110 Daniels Drive, Clemson, SC 29631.
To send flowers to David's family, please visit our floral section.