John Walter Cartwright, Jr.
February 21, 1947 - April 6, 2021
Chapel Hill, North Carolina -
John Cartwright died Tuesday, April 6, at age 74 after a 12-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was born in Elizabeth City, NC to John Walter Cartwright (Jack) and Edna Crawley Cartwright. He grew up in Raleigh and Durham, graduating from high school in Clinton, NC. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1970 with a degree in accounting, becoming a licensed CPA. He worked at the NC Department of Transportation for 30 years, culminating in his leadership over a seven year period in the purchase, installation, and staff training state-wide of a new digital accounting system.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Susan Pursley Cartwright, daughter Cara Henning, husband Reyco and their two children, and son John III (Jay), wife Lara of the Chapel Hill-Hillsborough area. He is also survived by his brother Thomas Cartwright, wife Mary and their children and grandchildren of Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia.
In all places he socialized, worked, and traveled, John sought a positive experience with everyone he met. A natural interviewer, at shared tables on cruise ships, on the beach, or with fellow travelers, he became an improvised host, encouraging all to share their background, join in jokes, and otherwise feel safe and comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Likewise, his children recall sitting bleary-eyed at the breakfast table dreading the coming school day and hearing, from upstairs, their father's boisterous singing as he walked to join them, shining with levity to counter the weariness of day-to-day drudgery for himself and his loved ones. As an ambassador of joy, John will be greatly missed, but his years of jokes, songs, and stories remain treasured memories among his family and friends, continuing his legacy of mirth for the ages.
A small family gathering will be held in his memory, with a celebration of life for friends and family to be scheduled at a later date. Condolences may be sent via his memorial web page at johnwaltercartwrightjr.com
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Published by The News & Observer on Apr. 13, 2021.