Richard Nettleton worked as an engineer in the Public Utilities Department in Virginia Beach for 28 years. He was a resident of Norfolk.
Nettleton was a U.S. Army veteran who served for 10 years. He separated from the Army as a Captain in the 84th Engineering Battalion, according to his obituary.
He earned a Master’s Degree in engineering from the University of New Hampshire, and a Master of Business Administration from Old Dominion University. He was working toward a PhD and planned to teach after retiring, his obituary states.
“Richard was a dedicated Virginia Beach Design and Construction Manager in public Utilities. Richard loved being an Engineer and loved his family. He was a steadfast, calm, committed man of action in his family life, his military career, and his municipal service,” his loved ones wrote in his obituary.
Nettleton’s wife of 23 years described him as a “strong, steady presence during every family challenge.”
“He provided me with a safe place to land and never complained,” she wrote in Nettleton’s obituary. “He was my rock, my protector, best friend and the love of my life.”
Nettleton’s family said he was inclusive of others and enjoyed mentoring his colleagues and fellow engineers.
“He was all about the city and the best possible outcome for the citizens and was exceptionally proud of the engineers and the staff with whom he worked,” his family wrote in his obituary.
In a Facebook post, his colleague Tara Reel described Nettleton as “one of those cornerstones of institutional knowledge” who took time to teach her what he knew about engineering.
Reel wrote that she stopped working for the City of Virginia Beach for some time to pursue her education. When she began to work again, this time in transportation, she ran into Nettleton when he came into her office at Town Center.
“He reflected on how long he had known me and stared at my degrees on the wall with such pride,” Reel wrote. “With that smile you see in this photo, he looked at me and shook his head in disbelief, ‘I am so very proud of you.'”
“You could toss a stone from any place in Virginia Beach and likely strike a project that had Rich’s involvement,” she added.
Nettleton is survived by his wife of 23 years, Sarah, and his step-children Byron and Mary Elizabeth Browne, his mother Teresa Nettleton, and seven siblings and their spouses.