Van Louis Weatherspoon

June 2, 2022

Van Louis Weatherspoon, age 91, died peacefully on June 2, 2022 after many years of declining health. He was born January 25, 1931 in Durham, NC, son of the late Robert Tyree and Edna Lewis Weatherspoon. Van was educated in the Durham County schools, graduating in 1950 from Durham High School. His senior year he was captain of the football team and led the team to the state championship and from there they went on to play at the Orange Bowl stadium in Miami, Florida. It was also at Durham High where he had the joy of meeting Kay Massey, who would become his wife in 1955.

Van attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a football scholarship, playing all four years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1954. While at UNC he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, serving as the president his senior year. He was also a member of The Gorgon’s Head Lodge.

Following graduation Van served in the US Navy on the USS Meadowlark minesweeper from 1954-1956. Upon completion of his service, he began his career as a salesman for Proctor and Gamble in Birmingham, AL. In 1958 the family settled in Charlotte where Van worked for WBT selling radio and television advertising. Van found his true calling in the real estate industry joining Masten Faison Weatherspoon Inc, in 1966, where the company developed shopping centers and malls across the Carolinas.

After twenty-five years he went out on his own forming The Weatherspoon Group. He also started The East Bay Trading Company in Charleston, SC and founded The Charlotte Museum of History. He had an entrepreneur’s heart and energy that drove him to always keep a project on his plate.

Van was a long-time member of Myers Park United Methodist Church. He served the church in a variety of capacities including the Administrative Board, Finance Committee and Sunday school teacher. Van’s community efforts included serving as the first president of the North Charlotte Rotary Club and he also served on the Salvation Army Board, The Charlotte Museum of History Board, the Charlotte Latin Board of Visitors and The UNC Chapel Hill Board of Visitors, among others. He was a past president of the Figure Eight Island Yacht Club and the Charlotte Country Club (where he enjoyed his golf outings with the RODS!)

Van received the Kenan Flagler Business School Alumni Merit Award in 2001, the Kenan Flagler Business School Leadership award in 2004 and the UNC William R. Davie award in 2003 (the highest award given at UNC). In appreciation of the education he earned at UNC, Van established the Van and Kay Weatherspoon Business Administration Endowment, the Weatherspoon Distinguished Professorship, and the Van L. Weatherspoon Distinguished Faculty Scholars Fund.

After the devastating loss of their son, Van Louis Weatherspoon, Jr., to a brain tumor in 1989, the Weatherspoons established the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professorship in Neurosurgery and the Van L Weatherspoon, Jr. Brain Tumor Program Fund for Excellence at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Van is survived by his wife of 66 years, Kay; two daughters, Martha Johansson and her husband, Reverend Paul Johansson, of Corcoran, Minnesota; and Laura Shwedo and her husband, Blair Shwedo, of Charlotte; grandchildren Blair Shwedo, Jr. and wife, Emily, Anne Shwedo Rufty and husband, Drew, Stephen Johansson and wife, Martha, and Andrew Johansson and wife, McKenna; five great grandchildren - Ridley Jane Shwedo, Louise Weatherspoon Shwedo, Eden Mercy Johansson, Nora River Johansson and Andrew Deacon Rufty, Jr. (two additional grandchildren are due next month). Also surviving is a sister, Dina Kennedy of Hurdle Mills, NC, a brother-in-law, C. Knox Massey of Atlanta, Georgia, and nieces and nephews - Jerome and Jay Kennedy, Elizabeth, Knox, and Louise Massey. In addition, Van is survived by former daughter-in-law, Christina Dowdy and her family - husband George, children Reed, Hill, and Merrill. The family would also like to recognize special friend Emily Cox.

A service to celebrate his life will be held Friday, June 10, 2022 at 11:00 AM at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road.

Memorials in Van’s memory may be made to Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207 or UNC Health Foundation-Van L. Weatherspoon Jr. Brain Tumor Program for Excellence, 123 W. Franklin St., Ste 510, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 (

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Everett & Katrinka Talbot

    Katrinka enjoyed working with Van at Masten Faison Weatherspoon. We're so sorry to hear about his memory troubles over the last few years and his death in this last week. Know that we're thinking of you and your family at this time.