Howard "Biff" Elwood Virkler

January 12, 2023

CHARLOTTE – Howard (Biff) Elwood Virkler, born April 26, 1940, in Philadelphia, PA, passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

Biff is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Joanna Betts Virkler; his loving children, Kathryn Virkler Harris and her husband, Kyle of Denver, CO, Drayton Virkler and his wife, Laura of Durham, NC, Justine Treadwell and her husband, Richard Maguire of Nicosia, Cyprus, Philip Treadwell of Charlotte, NC, Arthur Treadwell and his wife, Darcia of Arlington, VA, Marie Treadwell of San Diego, CA.  Also surviving are his 12 loving grandchildren, Jamison Gray, Jason Gray, Crosby Harris, Parker Harris, Ella Virkler, Sumner Virkler, Henry Virkler, Sophia Treadwell, Palmer Treadwell, Gordie Maguire, Greta Maguire, and Howard Noble Treadwell; brother, Craig Virkler and his wife, Patty of Charlotte; four nephews and one niece.  A truly grand family.  Biff was proceeded in death by his parents, Howard Albert Virkler and Eleanor Struve Virkler, both born in Philadelphia, PA, and his first loving wife, Susan Irish Virkler, who died in 1994 after 25 years of marriage.

Biff started working at The Virkler Company in Charlotte in 1965.  He became President in 1978.  Under his leadership, The Virkler Co. became an acknowledged leader in the field of high-tech textile chemical manufacturing. His company motto was, “Always a Step Ahead.”

Biff was a passionate community volunteer.  He was a 35-year member of The Rotary Club of Charlotte, board member of Spirit Square Center for the Arts and one of two board members of NC Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet) when the company was moving from Greensboro to Charlotte with $600,000 in debt.  The Virkler Co. stored NC Dance Nutcracker costumes for three years until they were able to use them.   Biff was a board member of SEATM, a textile organization that changed its name to TAMM, Textile Manufacturers and Merchants.  He served as president of TAMM until 2012.  Biff took a leadership role in the Charlotte Crop Walk, a walk to raise money for hunger.  In three years, his efforts increased fundraising from $50,000 a year to $350,000, making it the largest Crop Walk in the country at the time.  Biff served on the board of Loves and Fishes, a Charlotte food ministry.  He was a frequent singer and dancer in The Junior League Follies.  He also traveled the world for both business and pleasure, was an ardent fan of deep-sea fishing and boating, as well as golf.       

Biff was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church for 25 years, a member of St John’s Episcopal Church for 7 years and for the last 10 years, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fort Mill, SC.  At St. Paul’s, he sang in the choir and was a member of the Fellowship Committee.  Biff was a graduate of William Penn Charter in Philadelphia and Lehigh University. He was in the Lehigh Chorus and always said it was “the best team on campus.”  He served in the United States Army for three years as an officer in the Artillery.

The family would like to thank Caregiving Corner, The Ivey, Renew of Fort Mill, the aptly named Visiting Angels of Charlotte, Brighton Gardens of Charlotte, and Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region.  In addition, the family would like to thank all their faithful and loving friends who have been with them on this long journey together.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, January 20, 2023, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 501 Pine Street, Fort Mill, SC 29715.  The service will be livestreamed at: for those unable to attend in person.  The family will receive friends following the service at their home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Biff to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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

Share your memories & condolences


  • Mimi Mead-Hagen

    Dear Joanna, Biff was such a great host to take all of us out on his fun boat! What a warm and fun guy - I know he will be sooo missed!! Sending you a big hug! xxxMimi

  • Gertie and Gordon Day

    This is sad news we just learned. We both worked for the Virkler Company in Charlotte. Gordon ten years and me twenty years. I was surprised to read that one of my contributions to the company, that is, the company goal "Always a Step Ahead" was a part of Mr. Virkler's obituary. Gordon and I send our heartfelt condolences those we knew best Craig, Katheryn and Drayton and then to Joanna and the remaining family. Sincerely, Gertie and Gordon Day formally of Charlotte.

  • Kathleen Prokay

    I was so sorry to hear Joanna. I have fond memories of you and Biff at my house/garden and at St. John’s. RIP dear Biff.

  • Marty McCarthy

    Biff always took pleasure in other’s success. A very unselfish man that enjoyed the love of his family. God’s peace be with him

  • Clarence McGuffey

    Mine and Barbara sincere condolence to Howard's family. May God guide you through these difficult times.
    Bob McGuffey