tyler morning telegraph, september 23, 2003
Tyler community and educational leader, A.W. "Dub" Riter Jr., who served as a University of Texas regent and was a retired banker, died Tuesday night. He was 79.
In early February 1997, he was appointed by Gov. George W. Bush to serve as a member of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System for a six-year term ending Feb. 1, 2003. He was asked by Gov. Rick Perry to extend his term through the legislative session. He was a vice-chairman of the UT Board of Regents and a member of the Finance and Planning Committee; the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee; and the Student, Faculty and Staff Campus Life Committee.
Riter retired as senior chairman of the board for NCNB, now Bank of America, on Sept. 30, 1988. He served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer since October 1973.
Dr. Rodney Mabry, UT Tyler president, said Riter would be greatly missed by the university and his friends. "It's a sad day for Tyler and for The University of Texas at Tyler. He was not only a regent who was friends with governors and now a president, but he was the heart and soul of the university the last several years," he said.
Mabry said no meeting was too small for Riter's full attention and he paid attention to the smallest details helping wherever he was needed.
"Nothing was too small for him to come to if it was going to help the university. His handprints in a very loving way were on every project we undertook. He was both the spark plug and the engine," he said.
Riter and his wife, Betty Jo, donated a $1.35-million gift to UT Tyler to create The Dub and B.J. Riter Millennium Carillon Tower and Plaza.
Riter also served as chairman of the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler Development Board and the UT Tyler Development Board. Additionally, he was a past president of the UT Tyler Educational Foundation, Inc. and the Texas Chest Foundation, according to an UT biography.
Riter also served as a member of the board of directors of TCA Cable TV Inc., now Cox Communications, and as president and board member of the Tyler Economic Development Council from 1988 to 1991.
This year, Riter received the Business Hall of Fame honor from Junior Achievement of Greater Tyler. He was a charter member of the local JA board.
He received the W.C. Windsor Award as Tyler's Most Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1958 and the T.B. Butler Award as Tyler's Most Outstanding Citizen of the Year 1968, according to a University of Texas biography. Additionally, in 1987, he received the Patriot of the Year award from UT Tyler. In 1994, Riter and his wife, Betty Jo, received the All Saints Episcopal School "Flame of Excellence" award. In 1985, he was inducted into the New Mexico Military Institute Hall of Fame, according to the biography.
At the state level, he was a life board member of the Texas Research League, having served as its treasurer for six years; he served two terms as president of the Texas Association of Taxpayers; and he is a past board member of the Texas Chamber of Commerce, having served as vice chairman for Administration and Finance for that organization.
In June 1989, Gov. Bill Clements appointed Riter to the Texas Growth Fund Board of Trustees and in August of 1990 he was appointed by the governor to the Teacher Retirement System Board of Trustees. He served in both of these positions until October 1, 1994. He was currently serving as a member of the Governor's Select Task Force on Public Education. He was also a member of the Governor's Business Council - Executive Committee and the Governor's Select Task Force on Public Education. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor's Council for The University of Texas System.
The Texas Chamber of Commerce named him East Texan of the year in 1992.
Riter also received a special citation from the Texas Industrial Development Council and the East Texas Communities Foundation recognized him as outstanding volunteer fund-raiser in 1996.
He was active in civic affairs and served as president of the East Texas State Fair Association, East Texas Hospital Foundation, East Texas Symphony Association, Great Tyler Drug Free Business Initiative, Mother Frances Hospital Foundation, Texas Rose Festival Foundation, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, Tyler Economic Development Council, Tyler Industrial Foundation, The United Way, Willow Brook Country Club, The Plaza Club and the Tyler Petroleum Club.
Riter also served the boards of the East Texas Communities Foundation, the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, Regional East Texas Food Bank, Salvation Army and the Tyler Junior College Foundation.
Riter is survived by his wife, Betty Jo Baxter Riter; son and daughter-in-law, A.W. "Whit" Riter III and Cynthia; daughter and son-in-law, Melinda and Tom Shoemake; six grandchildren, Paxton Riter, Riter Kerr, Alysia Peyton, Caleb Kerr, Cameron Kerr, Caylyn Kerr; and great-grandchild, Riter Colton Kerr.
Riter was an elder and trustee in the First Presbyterian Church of Tyler and served as a Sunday school teacher and deacon.
Services are pending with Lloyd James Funeral Home.