Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the loss of former Methodist University Trustee and Chair Emeritus Ramon L. Yarborough, who died yesterday at the age of 90.
Yarborough – who joined the MU Board of Trustees in 1991 and was chair from 1997 to 2002 – played an integral part in the continued growth and success of MU. He was a co-chair of the “Seeds on Good Soil, A New Season” campaign (2002-05) that raised $14.7 million for the University and, along with his wife Virginia Lilly Yarborough, was involved in dozens of other fundraising efforts at MU and across Cumberland County. Born and raised in Fayetteville, Yarborough received recognition and awards for many of these efforts, and in 2011 was presented a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Methodist University.
“Methodist University will long remember Ramon Yarborough as a great friend and selfless supporter,” said MU President Stanley T. Wearden. “He was a tremendous force for good in this community, in addition to being a true gentleman. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Named MU’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1985, Yarborough generously supported students and University efforts, and exemplified MU’s core values through a distinguished history of civic, community, and educational involvement. Yarborough was a member of the MU Board of Visitors and the MU Endowment Society. His love for Methodist University was a family trait. His parents – Dr. Wilson and Mary Butler Yarborough – gave funds to build the iconic Yarborough Bell Tower that stands at the center of the MU campus. Dr. Yarborough was an original trustee and helped acquire the 10 tracts of land on which MU was built.
“Ramon Yarborough was a very caring and compassionate person,” said current MU Board of Trustees Chair Rakesh Gupta. “He leaves an indelible legacy through his charitable giving to this community. He will be truly missed.”
A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and a UNC School of Journalism Hall of Fame member, Ramon Yarborough was a vice president, president, publisher, and chair of the board for the Fayetteville Publishing Company which produced the Fayetteville Observer and Fayetteville Times newspapers.
Yarborough is survived by a daughter, Virginia Y. Colantuono; two sons, Ramon Yarborough Jr. and Sammy Rankin; and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 2 p.m. A private burial will be held at Cross Creek Cemetery in Fayetteville. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the St. John’s Episcopal Church, Cumberland Community Foundation, or a charity of your choice.
Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.