David J. Witham, 77, Leading Independent Hotelier in Maine

David J. Witham, 77, of Portsmouth, N.H. passed away peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 25, with his children by his side after a courageous battle with Parkinson's. Besides Portsmouth, he spent time at his residences in Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He was born on April 1, 1940 in Haverhill and was raised by his parents Warren and Margaret Witham in the Acre neighborhood, where he formed treasured lifelong friendships. A star athlete, young men from other towns would often travel to Haverhill looking for "Witham" to unsuccessfully challenge him to a foot race. He graduated from St. James High School and Merrimack College in North Andover. He would later earn his Masters Degree at Northeastern University.

His early career included Raytheon, IBM, and Sanders Associates before forging his own highly successful career in the hotel industry. In the early 1970s he partnered with his sister Mary and brother-in-law to purchase some motel cabins from his father in Hampton Beach, N.H.. He was a tireless worker who taught and nurtured hundreds of loyal employees over the years. By the end of his career in 2015, Witham was considered one of the top independent hoteliers in the state of Maine, with the Bar Harbor Inn being his flagship property.

Though highly regarded during his business career, he was just as admired for his unwavering commitment to family, friends, and community through his generosity. The Witham Family Hotels Charitable Fund was recently set up to carry on this legacy of giving.

He was an avid fan of all local sports, but the New England Patriots were his favorite team. He would rarely miss a game over the past 40 years and attended all five Super Bowl victories with family and friends.

Survivors include his daughter Anne Witham of Exeter, N.H., son David Witham of Portsmouth, N.H., and daughter Christine Witham of Bar Harbor, Maine. He also leaves his dear sisters Mary Donovan and Margaret Witham, brother in-law Thomas Donovan, six grandchildren, three nephews and his devoted nurse Marius Ramirez. He is predeceased by his sister Anne and brother Warren.

Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 So. Main St., Haverhill from 3 to 7 p.m. Services will begin Thursday in the funeral home at 8:30 a.m. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. James Church, 185 Winter St., Haverhill at 9:30 a.m. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery.