Robert (Bo) Pittman of Charlotte, N.C., beloved husband, father, brother, and GrandBo, died July 20, 2022. He was a unique soul with an abundance of charisma, charm and feistiness. He was a storyteller. He made people laugh.
He was born Feb. 20, 1952, and we got to enjoy him for 70 years. For those of us who loved Bo, it just wasn’t enough.
Bo grew up in Greensboro, NC. While attending Page High School, he often lamented that he lacked the athletic prowess of his older brother George. But Bo followed his own path, attending UNC Charlotte, joining a fraternity, and becoming Norm the Niner, the school’s mascot at athletic events.
Bo found another passion at UNCC. He helped establish and became the manager of the then-student-run radio station, WVFN, that eventually became WFAE. He helped transform the station from one that only broadcast sporadically to the university campus to one that would eventually become Charlotte’s NPR-affiliated station. After graduating in 1976, Bo continued to manage WFAE until he left to become the first general manager of WUAL, the public radio station at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
At WUAL Bo used his talent and infectious enthusiasm to create committed followers and donors throughout Tuscaloosa. Kathryn Tucker Windham, an Alabama author and storyteller whose recorded stories Bo convinced NPR to regularly feature on All Things Considered, once made the comment that Bo had a gift for inspiring those around him to do the very best work of which they were capable. That was a rare talent in a young man, she said.
Bo left WUAL, and Alabama, moving home to Charlotte in February 1986. Bo transitioned his talent for client relationship building to Jefferson Pilot’s Retail Services and later his own consulting business, working with television stations on how to raise revenues.
For the rest of his career, Bo lived in the racing world in motorsports marketing, beginning with his role with the Cotter Group, then Roush Racing and Richard Childress Racing. His passion for motorsports got him front and center at NASCAR, USAC, INDYCAR and ARCA races.
Bo loved cars. He acquired an old red 1967 MGB convertible and began what became a years-long project of restoring it. In his garage, he completely disassembled and reassembled it, then proudly announced that he only had a few small parts left over, and he couldn’t figure out what to do with. In heaven, he is most likely negotiating with God for a parking spot for that MGB.
He was a music lover, a car enthusiast, and connoisseur of fine IPAs. Bo was an avid cyclist and enjoyed teaching his grandchildren to love biking too. He was the life of the party, often the last to leave. He was never without a smile or a laugh.
He loved the University of Alabama football, the mountains, Booga Cat, Zoey Cat, and his dog, Buddy. He loved live music performances and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Bo loved his friends. He was a man who encouraged others and loved to interact with everyone who crossed his path. Most of his coworkers became his lifelong friends. He embraced life. He was a collector of memorabilia from every phase of his life so he could savor and recall the best moments.
Bo leaves behind a legacy of love of family. If you asked him, his greatest accomplishment wasn’t his career. It was being a father to his daughter, Ashley, and son Wil. He often said that his greatest honor in life was being their father, their love for him was his greatest joy, and his greatest pride was their success. The best times he spent in his life were times spent with them…on Indian Princess journeys with Ashley or scouting and hiking throughout the country with Wil. His office is filled with their small hands molded from wax; clay bowls made with their tiny hands. And photos. Lots of photos. Bo’s heart was big and generous. Enough so that he loved Debbie’s young grandchildren, Liam and Xalia as his own. They knew him as GrandBo, and he was indeed grand. He taught them to ride bikes, enjoy the outdoors and body surf in the ocean. He calmed many of the storms in their hearts. Sadly, Bo left us before he met his new grandson, Conrad Bookout IV. But there was already a place reserved in Bo’s heart for him.
He was the son of the late Ernest (Bill) and Eleanore K. Pittman. In addition to his parents, Bo was preceded in death by his older brother, George Ernest Pittman; his paternal grandparents, Ernest and Lois Pittman; and his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Karabinos.
Survivors include his wife, Debbie Creed Pittman; his children, William Michael Pittman, Ashley Marie Bookout (Conrad); former wife and mother of his children, Zeta Milem Pittman; two stepchildren, Whitney and Will; three grandchildren, Liam, Xalia, and Conrad; sister-in-law, Lynn Pittman; nephew Brock Pittman (Danielle) and their children Finn and Stella; niece Katherine Pittman and her son Ben.
There will be two services to celebrate Bo’s life. The first will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 13, 2022, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 1510 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28204.
The second celebration of life service will be held from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Thursday, September 29, 2022, at Childress Vineyards, 1000 Childress Vineyards Road, Lexington, NC 27295.
The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association by visiting https://www.alz.org
Thursday, September 29, 2022
3:00 - 5:00pm (Eastern time)