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Cynthia L. Wittmer

1953 - 2019
Cynthia L. Wittmer Obituary
Cynthia Leigh Wittmer


Cynthia Leigh Wittmer died peacefully at home on July 20, embraced by her family, after a valiant sixteen-year battle with breast cancer.

Born in Raleigh on June 30, 1953 in the old Rex Hospital on Wade Avenue, Cindy was the younger of two daughters of the late Warren G. and Mary (Spears) Wittmer. She credited her parents with the creation of a loving and open-minded home and an idyllic childhood. From her mother, she inherited a spirit of loyalty and compassion and a love of gardening. From her father, she received both a sense of humor and commitment to social justice.

Cindy graduated as valedictorian from Broughton High School in 1971 and received a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. In 1981, she received her J.D. with honors from Duke University Law School where she was on the law review, and began practicing with the firm of Sanford, Adams, McCullough, and Beard - currently Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein – where she remained until her retirement in 2018. She took immense pride in working alongside colleagues for whom she had tremendous respect. She was mentored by the late Al Adams and Bob Spearman, each of whom she admired and adored. The countless attorneys and young professionals she herself mentored adored her, in turn. Throughout her career, her highly regarded legal competence was commended in equal measure to her compassion, loyalty, and kindness. Among other awards, she was the 2011 recipient of the Joseph Branch Award for Professionalism, which celebrated her gentle determination, infinite patience, and extraordinary mentorship. Cindy served as a State Bar Councilor from 2007-2016.

In 1987, she married the love of her life, John Sarratt, and found her greatest joy in her marriage and in her two children, Joncie and William. She was a dedicated stepmother to her two stepdaughters, Wendy and Robin. She took immense pride in the achievements of Joncie and William, demonstrated in recent years by making cross-country or cross-Atlantic trips to hear Joncie perform in an opera in Italy, or William in a play in New York.

A member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Cindy served on the vestry and provided support to fellow parishioners in a number of capacities. Cindy spent untold hours helping lawyers and their family members who were diagnosed with breast cancer, regularly organizing support and social events for those in the midst of personal crisis.

Beyond family and career, Cindy pursued her passion for art, developing an adept skill in botanical illustration, and photography. A love of poetry fueled her own writing, and an interest in her family history propelled extensive genealogical research in New York and Germany.

She will be remembered by her family and friends for her optimism, determination, wit, and love. In the days before her death, she set the tone for others by declaring, "joy changes everything" and living out her personal creed that our lives should be lived with joy and gratitude.

Cindy is survived by her husband of 32 years, John Sarratt, her two children, William Sarratt (Katie Willmorth) and Joncie Sarratt (Scott Dalgliesh), her stepdaughters, Wendy Sarratt and Robin Sarratt (Tom Ryan), her sister, Laura Wyatt (Robert Wyatt), niece Cynthia Baggett (Ward Baggett), nephew Robert Wyatt, several great nieces and nephews, and a dedicated group of friends and colleagues.

Her family wishes to thank Dr. Mark Graham and his team for his exemplary care over the past sixteen years.

A memorial service will be held on Monday August 5, 2019 at 12:15pm at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1725 N New Hope Rd, Raleigh, NC. The family will receive friends from 11 to noon in the concourse of St. Mark's. A reception at the church will take place following the service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Cindy's honor to Legal Aid of North Carolina (224 S. Dawson St., Raleigh, NC 27601), Heifer International (1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202), or the .

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.
Published in The News & Observer from July 28 to July 31, 2019
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