Richard Hickman Prewitt, 74, departed this life on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center following a brief illness.
He is survived by two sons, David J., who resides in Texas, and Jacob H. who resides in Lexington; brothers, David E. who resides in Pennsylvania, William C. who resides in South Carolina; and a sister, Mary T., who resides in Paris, France.
Richard was born and raised in the Philadelphia, Pa., area, the son of Richard and Jean Prewitt.
Richard was in the class of 1956 at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind. He matriculated at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania after his junior year at Culver and later graduated from PMC College in Chester, Pa., with a bachelor of science degree in engineering, followed by a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. He worked as an engineer for both Burroughs Corp and SKF for a number of years. He then moved to Winchester and worked with his father at Prewitt Associates in Lexington as a materials engineer. He then worked for many years as an engineer for the city of Lexington, where he was an early adopter of harnessing biogases as a significant energy source for the city water treatment system. His analysis of surface water infiltration resulted in additional reserve capacity for the county water supply and his studies of surface temperatures and underground toxic gas buildup enhanced safer working conditions for workers. He retired from the city during 1996.
Blessed with a probing and analytical mind, Richard used his talents and time to conduct research in Africa to reverse desertification in the Chad Basin, which was published. He held patents for several electric devices. Richard was a member of the Bluegrass Mensa, qualification for which requires scoring in the top two percent nationally on a standardized IQ test. He also was involved with the Fort Boonesboro Foundation.
Richard was a past member of both the Cave Run Sailing Association and Riverton Yacht Club. He had successfully competed against Olympic medal winners in the Lightning Class during the 1960s and 1970s.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Friday at Milward Funeral Directors — Broadway with visitation at 1 p.m. Burial will follow in the Lexington Cemetery. A reception will be 4 p.m. following the burial at the Green Tree Antique and Tea Room, 521 West Short St., Lexington, KY.
The online obituary can be found at www.milwardfuneral.com.