In Honor of John Russell Wherritt 1932-2011
John Russell Wherritt of Sebastopol and San Francisco passed away peacefully at his home on April 15, 2011 from complications due to Parkinson's Disease. Born in Salt Lake City to Dr. Joseph Russell Wherritt and Lucille Raddatz Wherritt, his father was a well-known and respected obstetrician-gynecologist who delivered approximately 20,000 babies and also founded the Intermountain Clinic in Salt Lake City. Russell's great-grandparents, the Wherritt's and the Hatch's, descended from revolutionary families.
Russell served in the Army Medical Corp from 1953-1955. He graduated from Stanford in 1957. After college Russell moved to San Francisco and founded a successful commercial real estate business that he managed for 25 years. He retired in 1985 to pursue his own real estate interests in California and Utah.
Russell also served as President and Director of the Raddatz Management Corporation and Raddatz Family Limited, serving in that capacity until 2009. Russell moved to Sonoma County in the early 1980's. He was an avid art and antiques collector, traveling widely to Europe and Asia to assemble his impressive collection. He developed close friendships with many people in Western Sonoma County and was generally responsible for enhancing the social fabric of this rural area.
He was known for his generosity, both with friends and charities. Russell became involved with his favorite charity, Food For Thought, in 1995. At the time the fledgling organization was challenged to serve an increasing number of clients with HIV. Through his efforts as chair of the Building Committee, Russell led a campaign to raise funds for a new building. Named the J. Russell Wherritt Building, in honor of his efforts, it now serves as headquarters and gardens for the organization.
Russell's expertise in antiques and art allowed him to develop and manage a series of annual Food For Thought auctions that collectively raised over $1,000,000. The organization is now one of the most respected and effective charities in Sonoma County, largely due to Russell's support.
Russell loved his dogs and became a supporter of the Sonoma County Humane Society, adopting his final beloved terrier, Maggie, from the society. Even after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease he remained a consummate gentleman of the old school. Russell was a trusted friend, a mentor, and lived his life with the utmost integrity, always treating people with respect. He is survived by his sister, Joyce Wherritt Bowers and her husband Stewart and their three sons, Stewart, Barton and Byron. Russell's remains will be interred at Grace Cathedral Columbarium in San Francisco. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Russell's favorite charities: Food For Thought, UCSF Foundation Neurology Department's Parkinson's Research Clinic, c/o Dr. Michael Aminoff, and the Humane Society of Sonoma County.